The Jakarta Post
A baby orangutan in Kalimantan forest. (Shutterstock/-)
The Central Kalimantan Natural Resource Conservation Agency (BKSDA) has so far this year welcomed seven orangutans into its care that were submitted by local residents, noting an increase in public awareness about wildlife protection.
"We are grateful and thankful for the public's increasing awareness and participation in saving wildlife, especially protected species." BKSDA Sampit watch post commander Muriansyah said in Sampit on Wednesday, as quoted by Antara news agency.
He further called on the public to contact the agency about any concerns about the handover or protection of wildlife.
BKSDA Sampit last week took into custody a six-year-old male orangutan that was handed in by Taufik, a resident in the Kotabesi sub-district.
The orangutan was found in the Terantantang Village, in Saranau sub-district, four years ago and was subsequently taken care of by Taufik. Despite having wanted to return the animal to the wild, Taufik said he had only recently been able to get in touch with BKSDA.
The voluntary handover was witnessed by local police and representatives from non-governmental organizations related to the protection of orangutans.
Muriansyah noted that more and more wildlife is wandering into private estates in search of food as their habitats are dwindling with the increasing damage caused by forest clearing for plantations and mining, land fire, as well as illegal logging.
He added that orangutans submitted into the care of the BKSDA first go through rehabilitation to prepare them ahead of the release into the wild.
"If they are declared independently abled, they are then released into a forest with an adequate ecosystem," Muriansyah said.
Last year, the BKSDA Sampit received three wild animals from Seruyan residents, including two orangutans and one estuarine crocodile. From East Kotawaringin residents, the agency received 22 animals, consisting mostly of orangutans, followed by estuarine crocodiles, pangolins, slow loris and gibbons.
Muriansyah urged the public against killing or keeping protected wildlife as pets, especially orangutans. In addition to being sentenced to five years' imprisonment and fined Rp 100 million (US$7513), keeping orangutans poses a risk of contracting various diseases that can be transmitted by animals, such as tuberculosis, hepatitis and herpes. (liz/asw)