Penajam Paser Utara, 3 Desember 2019 – The ARSARI PSO is a part of Environmental Conservation Program in East Kalimantan. Taking a form of a sanctuary, this program was initiated by ARSARI Djojohadikusumo Foundation in 2019, and located in PT ITCI KU area under PT Enviro ARSARI with an area of 173,395 hectares covering 3 districts: Penajam Paser Utara (PPU), Kutai Kertanegara (KuKar) , and Kutai Barat (KuBar) in East Kalimantan. The conservation program managed by YAD in an area of 19,122 hectares dedicated for endangered wildlife including orangutans, sunbears, rhinos and other endemic species of Kalimantan.
PSO-ARSARI was initiated to address the need of a sanctuary for orangutans who are old and have spent years in cage due to illegally kept as pets by humans, orangutans confiscated from illegal wildlife trade since infants, orangutans with health reasons, and other conditions that prevent them from getting released into the wild. This is in line with YAD’s mission to follow through with the ideals of the nation’s founders in conserving the environment for the sake of future generations.
The ARSARI PSO is a collaboration between YAD and the Center for Natural Resources Conservation (KSDA) East Kalimantan Office which started in 2016. The collaboration agreement is written in a Cooperation Agreement signed on 15 March 2019 number 062 / K.18 / TU / PROG / I / 2019 and 049 / YAD / III / 2019 concerning Strengthening Functions in the Context of Conservation of Orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus) and Other Wild Animals and Their Habitats in the Area of Center for Natural Resources Conservation, East Kalimantan Office.
The program started with the construction of animal clinics and orangutan quarantine cages. On 3 October 2019, the quarantine enclosure of the ARSARI PSO was inhabited with 2 male cheek pad orangutans who were translocated from the Tasikoki Animal Rescue Center (PPS) at North Sulawesi, named Bento and Iskandar. The translocation process began on 27 September 2019 on land and sea, and the orangutans arrived at ARSARI PSO on 3 October 2019. It was followed by licensing the construction of orangutan sanctuary on Kelawasan Island.
The Government, represented by the Directorate General of Conservation of Natural Resources and Ecosystems (KSDAE) of the Ministry of Environment and Forestry (LHK), said that Kelawasan Island, under the administration of Penajam Paser Utara Regency, will be made into Orangutan Sanctuary Center (PSO) managed by YAD together with BKSDA East Kalimantan. The utilization of the island is currently awaiting the process of obtaining permits and recommendation from the Ministry of Environment and Forestry. The permit was immediately issued as a reference for Penajam Paser Utara regency to facilitate administration governance.
Aside from obtaining permits, YAD also carried out feasibility study related to the capacity of the region. The result of the study has already been submitted to BKSDA East Kalimantan, which will later be delivered to the Directorate General of KSDAE KLHK. Apart from the feasibility study, ARSARI PSO is also required to conduct a Focus Group Discussion (FGD) to socialize its plans. The workshop is scheduled for implementation in early January 2020.
PSO ARSARI is run by a competent and reliable team with sufficient experience in handling animal sanctuary centers especially orangutans, consisting of Operational Manager, veterinarians, and animal keepers.
Inauguration of PSO ARSARI
On Monday, 2 December 2019, ARSARI PSO was officially inaugurated by Hashim Djojohadikusumo together with the Director General of KSDAE KLHK, Wiratno. The event was also attended by the Head of KSDA East Kalimantan Office, Sunandar, and his staff. In addition, the inauguration which was also covered by a number of media – both print and electronic – was also observed by the staff of PT ITCI KU and also the YAD Board of Trustees, Rahayu Saraswati Djojohadikusumo.
ARSARI PSO Inauguration event began at 8:45 WITA, hosted by Catrini Kubontubuh as the Executive Director of YAD and Ariseno Ridhwan as VP of Corporate Communications ARSARI Group.
The event was opened by singing Indonesia Raya, followed by a speech by Mr. Willie Smits who told the background of the formation of ARSARI PSO and provided general information about orangutans. Then, the team behind PSO-ARSARI was introduced by Mr. Odom. The event was followed by speeches from Mr. Sunandar as the Head of BKSDA East Kalimantan, Mr. Hashim Djojohadikusumo as Chairman of YAD, and finally Mr. Wiratno as Director General of KSDAE KLHK. After the speeches, ARSARI PSO inscription was signed by the representatives of YAD and KSDAE KLHK, and followed by an observation to ARSARI PSO grounds.
During the observation, all invited guests had the opportunity to see for themselves two male orangutans within ARSARI PSO quarantine enclosure, named Bento and Iskandar. Bento and Iskandar are in very good condition. One indicator is that the hairs on their bodies have become thicker. This is of course due to care and treatments given by the ARSARI PSO team, from giving enrichments to reducing the intensity of their interaction with humans. It was done while keeping in mind to prepare them for future release into the wild.
Aside from orangutans, ARSARI PSO is also intended for other endemic Kalimantan animals. One of them is Baner, who is a Asian Brown Tortoise (Manouria emys). Baner is a Kalimantan native tortoise found and handed over to PSO-ARSARI on 16 November 2019. After undergoing several weeks of quarantine, on Monday, 9 December 2019 at 9:45 WITA, Banner was returned to BKSDA East Kalimantan and immediately released back to its habitat.
Sharing the Earth with Them
Bento, Iskandar and Baner are only few of the many species of animals belonging to Indonesia. Aside from the trio, the area around the ARSARI PSO is also natural habitat for many endemic animal, especially from Kalimantan. Examples of which are proboscis monkey (Nasalis larvatus), ruby-cheeked sunbird (Anthreptes singalensis), oriental darter (Anhinga melanogaster), long-tailed macaque (Macaca fascicularis) and keeled slug snake (Pareas carinatus).
The goal of PSO ARSARI is not only to save orangutans from extinction, but also to ensure that the rescued orangutans can live happily free from chains, cages, and out of the hands of irresponsible humans.
Achieving this certainly requires cooperation of various parties, from the government through the Ministry of Environment and Forestry to the active role of animal activists. Because sharing with these animals will make this earth a more beautiful place.