With a size nearly twice Singapore, the natural treasures found in the forest landscape between the Rungan and Kahayan rivers are remarkably rich. However, the conservation status of the landscape that is situated in three administrative districts of Central Kalimantan (Palangka Raya, Gunung Mas, and Pulang Pisau)remains an afterthought with no scientific survey and research being carried out while several areas of this landscape have been designated for conversion to a plantation.
For that reason, BNF has partnered with Muhammadiyah University of Palangka Raya (UMP) for the designated 4,917-hectare research forest (KHDTK) for carrying out research and training activities in this forest landscape. One of the realizations of this partnership is the last 2016 international scientific expedition to the KHDTK with support from our partners Rainforest Trust, U.S Fish and Wildlife Service, Save the Orangutan, and CISU.
With the combined data from our 2010 surveys and the last 2016 Borneo Nature Foundation (BNF) expedition, it was found that this forest landscape is home to a wide array of wildlife. This includes nine species of primate and all five species of Bornean wild cat, including the clouded leopard and mysterious bay cat. Other notable mammal species found also include sun-bear, civet, pangolin, porcupine, otter, and a rare sighting of the giant tufted ground squirrel. In addition, important bird species are also present. These include critically-endangered white-shouldered ibis, argus pheasant, two stork species, and a high abundance and diversity of hornbills with several nesting sites of the iconic Rhinoceros hornbill. In terms of reptiles, the preliminary species list includes at least two species of crocodile and three species of turtle, all of which are at risk of extinction and in need of focused conservation efforts.
Among those listed nine primate species are orangutans. In the Rungan Landscape, It is estimated that the number of this Bornean flagship primate is as many as 2,000. This number has made this forest one of the largest remaining populations of critically-endangered wild orangutans in an unprotected forest that is threatened by land conversion.
Through Rungan River Landscape, BNF has been trying to propose a landscape-wide survey of the Rungan-river forest to enable the status of endangered and protected wildlife species of Rungan to be properly assessed; determine areas of High Conservation Value and High Carbon Stock, ensure community engagement with these objectives and achieve in-situ community leads conservation. By doing this, we will be able to recommend measures for the sustainable development of this landscape in order to protect key biodiversity and prevents the destruction of Kalimantan’s incredible natural heritage.
Further detail of information on the significance of the Rungan-Kahayan Forest can be accessed here