Established in 1991, the Borneo Orangutan Survival (BOS) Foundation started as a rehabilitation centre in East Kalimantan in response to the many orangutans displaced due to the illegal pet trade. They work together with the locals, the Indonesian government, and many great global communities to fight extinction and conserve orangutans as well as protecting their habitats in sites all across Borneo, specifically the Indonesian provinces of Central and East Kalimantan. This year, they are celebrating their 30 years anniversary of conservation.
What They Do
Heal and Drill
Their main focus is to rescue orangutans and bring them to their natural habitat. However, there are some obstacles along the process. Over the last 3 decades, more than 1,200 orangutans entered BOSF rehabilitation to start their rehabilitation processes before going back to the forests. However, many of them suffer from diseases and injuries which require them to stay in quarantine as the BOSF crews take care of them.
After going through the healing process, the crews still need to make sure that the orangutans have regained their natural instincts to survive in the wild. The orangutans are moved to forested pre-release islands and the crews will check on them daily until they are ready to go back to the forest.
The BOS Foundation also works on reforestation of the homes of orangutans. As orangutans are endangered and protected species, they need a place where there won’t be any threat from humans. In Central Kalimantan alone, the BOS Foundation protects 309.000 ha of natural wild orangutan habitat in the Mawas Conservation Area.
Community Development & Education
To support the missions above, the BOS Foundation partners work with local communities to build awareness and to empower the people to create better livelihoods while still protecting the environment. They work together to protect the forests, monitor illegal activities, and innovate alternative income such as sustainable agriculture and handicraft production, cultural preservation, and natural resource management.
Why Orangutans Are Important
About 85% of orangutans are found exclusively in Indonesia, specifically on the island of Borneo and Sumatra and the remaining 15% are found in Sabah and Sarawak, Malaysia. In less than 50 years, we have lost 80% of the orangutan population mainly due to mass deforestation and climate change. Three orangutan species: Bornean, Sumatran, and Tapanuli, are now classified as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
As the name itself, “orangutan” means “person of the forest”, which makes them one of the keystone species of the forest. Orangutans have a big role in keeping the health of the tropical forest ecosystems. They consume a wide variety of fruits which the seed spreads as they eat them. By protecting orangutans, we are also protecting many other species of flora and fauna.
When we lose orangutans, there is a very high chance that we will also lose the forests and every creature within, because when we lose all of the remaining orangutans, that simply tells us that they have lost their home, which is not only their home but also our forests.
To donate, volunteer, and learn more about BOS Foundation please visit their website here.