We all know that the orangutan is an endemic animal in Indonesia whose status is currently endangered. Various polemics in the world of orangutan conservation are challenges that we must overcome together. It calls for involvement from various parties, both from policy makers and general public.

ARSARI Orangutan Sanctuary Center (PSO-ARSARI) plays a part in orangutan conservation efforts, in this case, taking on a role as the executor who goes directly to the field. As deeply involved in conservation project as they are, of course they all have to understand the importance of conservation, especially orangutans. Basic knowledge about the notion of conservation, the role of orangutans in nature, the impact that will occur if orangutans were to go extinct, the role of the younger generation, and cases of orangutans entering residential areas or plantations need to be understood by all parties, especially conservation activists.

Now, does every single staff in PSO-ARSARI are aware of the meaning behind orangutan conservation? Let us try to see through their eyes.

Odom / Operational Manager

Conservation is defined as a preservation, which includes managing and maintaining Natural Resources (SDA) in a planned and sustainable manner so as to create a natural balance between diversity and the process of evolutionary change in an environment. Conservation can also be interpreted as a process carried out continuously on natural resources, with the goal that they can be utilized by current and future generations. In conclusion, conservation is an activity to preserve and protect the environment in order to maintain natural resources. It is very important to understand that conservation has a goal, which is: an effort to protect natural resources against all forms of commercial exploitation, to restore, to correct past mistakes that are considered harmful to the productivity of natural resources. Conservation is about using natural resources as efficiently as possible, so that future generations can also have a share in its wealth. Conservation is carried out to find solutions for natural resources which have been reduced or depleted.

Orangutans play an incredibly important role in forest regeneration through the fruits and seeds they eat and disperse, and they are also among one of the protected primates that are critically endangered in their habitat, the “forest”. Orangutans also have an important role in maintaining the health of forest ecosystems. They are not only dispersers of seeds, but also making nests in trees which allows sunlight to enter through the dense tropical forest.

Indonesia has 3 species of orangutans, one from Sumatra Island (Pongo abelii), one from Kalimantan (Pongo pymaeus), and one known as Pongo Tapanuliensis which is a “new species”, only found at Batang Toru ecosystem in 3 districts which are North Tapanuli, Central Tapanuli, and South Tapanuli. The species from Kalimantan consist of 3 subspecies: Pongo pygmaeus pygmaeus found in the northern part of Kapuas River to the northeast of Sarawak, Pongo pygmaeus wurmbii found from the south of Kapuas River to the western part of Barito River, Central Kalimantan, and Pongo pygmaeus morio inhabits the area from Sabah to all the way south to Mahakam River in East Kalimantan.

What will happen if orangutans were to go extinct? They are a primary species for conservation that play such an important role in forest regeneration. There are no less than 40 types of plants whose seeds are spread by orangutans. Thus, if they become extinct, it will result in the loss of hundreds of plant and animal species in the forest ecosystem. The young generation needs to have sufficient information and knowledge to be able to continue to voice awareness and find a harmony between human life and wildlife, to maintain natural habitat, to inform the next generation of their love for nature and the living beings in it.

There have been cases of orangutans entering residential areas and plantations, initially because orangutans are looking for food or shelter. In Kalimantan, orangutans mostly live outside of protected areas, including industrial timber areas. Mining and plantation concessions take a tool on their natural habitat. In principle, animals need food, shelter, water, and a place to live, which is the “forest”. Orangutans can experience hunger because it gets more difficult to get their natural food in the forest, so they approach village fields or looting to oil palm plantations. Orangutans may also start coming into settlements due to the impact of forest fires that occur almost every year. Illegal logging and land use conversion are also among the reasons why orangutans entering human settlements. The point is that orangutans try to survive by looking for areas where there are still plenty of food.

Echa Openg / Deputy Opertionsl Manager

Conservation is an effort that should grow from within oneself to take action to restore the environment, in this case, the nature around us. So for me, conservation is inherently linked with effort or intention from the person involved.

Orangutans play a role in forest ecosystem regeneration because they eat forest fruits, thus spreading the seeds of the fruit and help them survive. And also because orangutans are arboreal animals (living on trees), they are helping sunlight access by naturally trimming branches or tree canopy, so that sunlight can enter and give life to plants living on the forest floor.

There are 3 types of orangutans in Indonesia: the Kalimantan Orangutan, the Sumatran Orangutan, and the Tapanuli Orangutan. If orangutans were to become extinct, the forest ecosystem will collapse, affected food chain in nature, and Indonesia loses one of its unique endemic animals.

The younger generation must have awareness of their environment and start from themselves to avoid products that are not environmentally friendly as much as possible. The instances of orangutans entering human settlements and plantations is likely caused both from the damage in their forest or habitat, and also due to behavioral factors.

Mochamad Rajuli / Medical Team Coordinator

Conservation is an effort made to maintain and protect the nature and our environment in a comprehensive and sustainable manner. The function of orangutans for nature is as an umbrella species with a very significant impact on nature and the environment. There are three types of orangutans, all three are Kalimantan, Sumatran and Tapanuli orangutans.

If orangutans were to become extinct, there will be an imbalance in the forest and the surrounding environment. The younger generation must begin to learn to understand about conservation, especially orangutans, through direct involvement such as campaigns. Because orangutans losing their habitat and food, forests transformed into plantations, and so many humans building settlements, are the causes of orangutans making contact with residential areas and plantations.

Putu Suandhika / Veterinarian

Conservation is an activity that aims to rejuvenate, protect, and save something, both in the form of tangible things and living things. Orangutan is an umbrella species, which means they protect nature and all living inside it. They are called “umbrella” because they plays an important role in natural regeneration, in this case the forest. Orangutans have a wide roaming area, where they spread the seeds of the fruits they eat for them to grow back.

Until now, Indonesia has recorded 3 types of orangutans, which are Kalimantan, Sumatran, and Tapanuli Orangutans. If they were to become extinct, it will cause an imbalance in the ecosystem. Then we will lose our identity, lose our endemic animals, and have to be hold ourselves accountable to our children and grandchildren in the future.

What can younger generation do to prevent orangutans from extinction? It can start from ourselves by stopping to do things such as littering that can damage nature and the environment where orangutans live. Taking a step further, we can also act as influencers who can spread awareness about orangutan conservation. Another step further, we can also get involved directly, and joining PSO-ARSARI is one of them.

About the cases of orangutans entering residential areas and plantations? Of course, this is likely caused due to the forest where they live is increasingly being damaged by humans. The forest has been damaged, the food is reduced, to the point the animals inside will be forced to venture outside the forest to find fruits to eat.

Wiwik Winarti Sintia

Conservation simply means preservation or protection. Orangutans play an important role in forest regeneration by helping to spread seeds, thus helping humans with reforestation. Reforestation is the replanting of trees in the forest. Indonesia has 3 types of orangutans.

Possible extinction of orangutans will reflect the loss of hundreds of plant and animal species in the rainforest ecosystem. The younger generation plays a role in maintaining and protecting orangutan habitat, and prevent forest destruction so orangutans can remain sustainable. Cases of orangutans entering residential areas and plantations are likely because of shortage of food, shelter, water, and damaged habitat.

Rr. Pangastuti Adimulyo / Veterinarian

Conservation is an effort to support the preservation of the environment, both flora and fauna. Orangutans are animals that can maintain the balance of ecosystems in the forest by helping in dispersal of seeds from the plants they eat. There are 3 types of orangutans in Indonesia; the Kalimantan orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus), Sumatran orangutan (Pongo abelii), and Tapanuli orangutan (Pongo tapanuliensis).

If orangutans become extinct, Indonesia will lose its most unique endemic species because only Indonesia and parts of mainland Malaysia (Borneo) have these animals. Ecosystems in the forest will also take an impact because of the loss of such an important seed dispersal species. Future generations will also lose the opportunity to personally know this endangered species.

For now, as the younger generation, it is necessary to have sufficient awareness in the importance of conservation, especially orangutans. The younger generation can take part directly as volunteers in various conservation institutions to better understand the importance of conservation. In addition, they can also share, educate, and disseminate information related to orangutan conservation. Another way to protect the existence of orangutans is by not hunting/consuming them.

The cases of orangutans entering residential areas and plantations is a conflict that often occurs between orangutans and local residents, especially those living in places bordering the forest. The forest has been gradually lost due to land conversion (turning them into residential areas, plantations, mine and so on). No wonder orangutans find it increasingly difficult to find food in their home and diminishing space. Finally, when the forests have less and less food sources, they inevitably end up entering settlements and plantations in search of food.

Samsul / Animal Technician

Conservation is about protection and preservation. Because orangutans can roam very far, they can disperse seeds from plants they eat and thus replant trees to places far and wide. There are 2 types of orangutans, the Sumatran and Kalimantan orangutan. What will happen if orangutans become extinct? Of course, the forest will suffer an impact.

The role of younger generation to prevent orangutan extinction is to always protect orangutans and their habitat.

M. Nur / Animal Technician

Conservation can be interpreted as preservation and protection. Orangutan is an umbrella species for the forest because what they eat will replant and reproduce new plants and trees for the forest. There are 3 types of orangutan; the Kalimantan Orangutan, the Sumatran Orangutan, and the Tapanuli Orangutan. If orangutans become extinct, it will have a negative impact on other species.

The younger generation can play an important role in orangutan conservation efforts by always protecting them. There are cases of orangutans entering residential areas and plantations due to shortage of food and loss of land due to palm oil plantations and many others.

Fernando Rama / Animal Technician

Conservation in general means efforts to preserve and protect. Orangutans play a tremendous role in forest conservation. Without us knowing, orangutans have been replant trees by eating fruits and spreading their seeds through their feces.

As far as I know, there are 2 types of orangutans in Indonesia. If orangutans become extinct, it can definitely damage forest ecosystems. The younger generation needs to take part in conservation and report to the authorities if they find hunters/poachers. The cases of orangutans entering residential areas and plantations can be caused by the destruction / declining of the forest.

Bertha Busa / General Admin

Preservation or protection is the heart of conservation activities. Orangutans play an important role in forest regeneration through the fruits and seeds they eat. Indonesia has 2 types of orangutans, which is the Kalimantan/Borneo (Pongo pygmaeus) and the Sumatran Orangutan (Pongo abelii).

Habitat destruction and forest conversion for palm oil plantations or other crops can lead to a decline in the orangutan population, or even worse, it can lead to extinction. Therefore, the younger generation can take up an important role to prevent extinction of orangutans by protecting and safeguarding them.