International Orangutan Day is celebrated on August 19 aiming to increase awareness on the endangered species.
Indonesia, the home to three sub-species of orangutan, — Bornean orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus) in Kalimantan, Sumatran orangutan (Pongo abelii) and Tapanuli orangutan (Pongo tapanuliensis) in Sumatra.
Unfortunately, orangutans are listed as critically endangered at the Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN, 2017).
Based Population and Habitat Viability Assessment (PHVA, 2017), Tapanuli orangutan ranked bottom with only 800 individuals, out of 13,710 Sumatran orangutans and 45,590 Bornean orangutans.
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To tackle declining population, the government has launched the Strategy and Action Plan for Orangutan Conservation (2019-29) in Jakarta, on August 12.
Wiratno, director general of nature resources and conservation of Ministry of Environment and Forestry, said Indonesia as the home to Bornean and Sumatran orangutans encourage all stakeholders to increase awareness and cooperation to preserve orangutan and its habitat.
“With the action plan, it is expected that orangutan population can continue to rise. Of course, with the involvement of central government, regional government, NGO, orangutan rehabilitation centers, researches, private sector, local people, indigenous groups and religious groups to work on conserving the species,” he said. “The collaboration is expected to save orangutan and establish common awareness on orangutan preservation and its habitat.”
Lukas Laksono Adhyakso, Conservation Program Director of WWF-Indonesia, said that the action plan will be the main guide for WWF Indonesia to work on its conservation efforts in five orangutan habitat, — Kapuas Upstream Landscape of West Kalimantan, Muller-Schwaner-Arabela Landscape of West Kalimantan – Central Kalimantan, Sebangau Katingan Landscape of Central Kalimantan, Kayan Landscape of North Kalimantan, and Northern Sumatra Landscape of North Sumatra.
“With the International Orangutan Day momentum, we also have other public campaigns to support the action plan, including design actions and hold talkshows in radio, school visits, and art performances in Kalimantan,” said Adhyakso in a press release on Monday (19/08/2019).
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Furthermore, he said that more often than not, the failure of orangutan conservation is caused by forest resources development for economics goals which resulted in negative impacts, such as deforestation, forest damages and fires. This condition, resulted from forest management neglecting principles of ecology and nature resources and ecosystem conservation.
“Hence, we are ready to partnered with government and actively encourage other stakeholders to implement and protect the implementation of the action plan for better orangutan condition and habitat,” he said.
Orangutan has the rights for its welfare, to be able to fulfil its part to preserve the forests, so it can supply oxygen and food security for all living creatures.
Reports by Dewi Purningsih