“Amun Dia Itah, Eweh Hindai,” said Ivo Sugianto Sabran in Dayak language when she invited the younger generation to preserve the forest so that the orangutans still have a home in their homeland.
Central Kalimantan is home to many rare species, including the endemic Bornean orangutan (Pongo pygmeus) with populations scattered throughout the region’s remaining peat-swamp forest.
Bornean orangutans are protected in Indonesia and were categorised as Critically Endangered by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species in 2016. It is urgent for conservation partners to come together and save this iconic species, one of our closest relatives, which shares 97% of its DNA with humans.
Hunting and changes in forest function are major threats to the Bornean orangutan’s survival. Moreover, the conflict between humans and orangutans is still fairly commonplace, largely due to poor public understanding. As a result, numerous campaigns have been launched to encourage species protection. One of the most significant comes around every August 19th, celebrated as International Orangutan Day.
To commemorate this key date in the conservation calendar, the Central Kalimantan Natural Resources Conservation Centre (BKSDA) collaborated with the Borneo Nature Foundation (BNF) Indonesia and the Central Kalimantan Orangutan Forum (FORKAH) to host a multi-day Orangutan Celebration on the 20th and 21st August, 2022.
The slogan for this year’s Orangutan Celebration was ‘Orangutans Should Live in the Forest’, emphasising to the public that orangutans are not pets. The 2022 Orangutan Celebration was attended by The Head of Central Kalimantan Family Welfare Empowerment Team (PKK), as well as an animal observer, Ivo Sugianto Sabran, and the Head of the Sebangau National Park Office, Andi M Kadhafi.
Theatre performances, painting, photo exhibitions, colouring competitions for elementary schools across Palangka Raya, and a special orangutan quiz.
The weekend-long celebration consisted of theatre performances, cultural dances, painting, photo exhibitions, colouring competitions for elementary schools across Palangka Raya, and a special orangutan quiz. In addition, guests and visitors were asked to sign a collective agreement supporting the protection of orangutans in their natural habitat and against being kept as pets.
According to the Head of the Central Kalimantan BKSDA, Nur Patria Kurniawan, the orangutan population in Central Kalimantan is one of the largest in Indonesia—and possibly even the world. This highlights the importance of campaigns and events like the 2022 Orangutan Celebration to engage the public in wildlife conservation, especially children as the region’s future.
“Welcoming the commemoration of International Orangutan Day, we provide education and campaigns to children. As the next generation, they must understand that orangutans are an asset of Indonesia and of the world, which must be preserved,” he said.
The Head of BNF Indonesia, Juliarta Bramansa Ottay, reiterated his organisation’s commitment to protecting orangutans through partnership activities, including events to mark International Orangutan Day 2022 in Palangka Raya.
“Within our programmes, we carry out orangutan conservation through research and environmental ecosystem restoration. We work mainly in the Sebangau National Park and Rungan landscapes, covering Palangka Raya City, Gunung Mas Regency and Pulang Pisau Regency,” he explained.
This research was conducted to better understand forest conditions, which informs BNF’s ecosystem restoration activities of planting, firefighting and prevention, and community empowerment.
The Head of the Watershed and Protected Forest Management Agency (BPDASHL) Kahayan, Supriyanto Sukmo Sejati, said that, in commemoration of International Orangutan Day 2022 and the 77th anniversary of Indonesia’s independence, his organisation would be distributing plant seeds to the public.
“Today we are giving out seeds to grow fruit trees and other plants endemic to Kalimantan. With forms and proof of ID, every citizen can claim 25 free plant seeds,” he said.
It is hoped that all communities here will pitch in to help orangutans by looking after their forest habitat and taking a stand against the illegal pet trade.
Written by: Yohanes Prahara, Content Creator and Media Liaison BNF Indonesia
Photo by Yohanes Prahara/BNF and Eprin
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