Thursday, 12 November 2009

Another 50 orangutans ready for release

Friday, November 13, 2009 00:58 WIB | Environment | |

Medan (ANTARA News) - At least another 50 North Sumatra orangutans are being prepared for release into their natural habitat in Indonesia to speed up the multiplication of the big apes, 97 percent of whose DNA are human.

"Previously since 2001, 185 orangutans had been quarantined at Batu Mbelin, Sibolangit, North Sumatra, and most of them had already been released into Bukit Tiga Puluh, Jambi," conservation division deputy director of the Yayasan Ekosistem Lestari (YEL) in Gunung Gea, Medan, Thursday.

He was referring to the 5th Orangutan Care Week held in the region with various programs like tree planting and peaceful action against activities which may put the big animals on the brink of extinction. The 50 orangutans are of various types, including baby orangutans, and invalids, as well as those still healthy, ready for release into the wilderness.

"The Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Program is expected to speed up the restoration and addition of the number of orangutans in Indonesia," he said.

Flanked by Director of the Orangutan Information Centre Panut Hadi Siswoyo Gunung further explained that orangutans are only found on Kalimantan and Sumatra islands and are normally of two different species.

The population of the pongo pygmaeus in Kalimantan and the Pongo Abelli in Sumatra, is rapidly declining.

The extinction of orangutans in Indonesia is actually the impact of legal and illegal logging, and the conversion of forests into oilpalm estates, fires and illegal killing, and illegal chatching of the big apes.(*)