Penajam Paser Utara, January 16th, 2021 – A heartbreaking news just enveloped the entire ARSARI Orangutan Sanctuary Center (PSO-ARSARI) at Cultivation Rights area of PT. ITCI KU ARSARI Group in Penajam Paser Utara Regency, East Kalimantan. This is a big loss for orangutan conservationists and activists so early in 2021. Iskandar, who was rescued from an illegal trafficking on October 30th, 2004 and began to inhabit PSO-ARSARI after being translocated from the Tasikoki Animal Rescue Center (PPS) since October 3, 2019, has passed away today after fighting the illness he has suffered for days.
Iskandar, a male orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus), breathed his last before dawn at 1:32 WITA. Previously, he had started showing signs of deteriorating health, and immediately given medical attention by PSO-ARSARI medical team on standby for 8 consecutive days.
The chronology of Iskandar’s passing according to Mr. Odom, the Operations Manager of PSO- ARSARI, are as follows. It began with monitoring Iskandar’s lack of appetite and obstructed defecation since January 8, 2021. Symptoms led to indigestion, bloating, and constipation. The PSO-ARSARI medical team continued to provide supportive and symptomatic therapies, both oral and injection. “Iskandar only wants to eat and drink if given by hand. However, the amount of food and fluids that managed to get in is not sufficient for his body’s needs. This made us decide to take further medical action, using anesthesia on January 12th, 2021,” said Odom. The PSO-ARSARI medical team led by drh. Putu Suandhika tried to perform intravenous infusion fluid therapy, but it did not work because Iskandar could still move his hands even though the anesthetic was given in the right dose plus several top ups. When Iskandar was under anesthesia, the PSO-ARSARI medical team managed to take blood sample which showed that Iskandar may have an infection, but it is not certain. Further tests for the presence of malaria and hepatitis A, B, and C showed non-reactive results, as did the Covid-
19 rapid test. On January 14th, 2021, Iskandar’s condition was getting weaker. Attempts to
give intravenous fluids remained unsuccessful.
“And finally on January 16th, 2021, at 01.00 WITA, Iskandar’s breathing was very heavy and deep with a frequency of 18x per minute. His body temperature dropped to 35.4 C. And at
01.32 WITA, Iskandar breathed his last.”
After Iskandar’s passing, the necropsy process will be carried out immediately by an independent medical team appointed by East Kalimantan Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA) in accordance with standard operating procedures. “Provisional Diagnosis will soon be compiled based on the results of the necropsy which will be carried out this afternoon,” explained Ir. Sunandar T.N., MM, Head of the East Kalimantan BKSDA. “And after that, Definitive Diagnosis will be compiled after obtaining the results of laboratory tests on various blood and organ samples obtained from necropsy,” he concluded.
Separately, Catrini Kubontubuh, the Executive Director of ARSARI Djojohadikusumo Foundation (YAD) as the supervisor of PSO-ARSARI, also expressed her concern. “Iskandar’s death is an enormous loss for all of us. It is especially considering the grand dream of YAD with the East Kalimantan BKSDA through PSO-ARSARI is to build a sanctuary island for orangutans on Kelurahan Island, Penajam Paser Utara Regency, which has yet to be realized.” said Catrini.
“We are extremely grateful for the hard work of PSO-ARSARI team in taking care of Iskandar. The diagnosis of orangutan disease needs to be examined carefully, especially during this pandemic, so that it can be a lesson for all stakeholders in the effort to conserve Indonesian wildlife, especially orangutans,” claimed Wiratno, Director General of KSDAE, Ministry of Environment and Forestry. This is further asserted by Hashim Djojohadikusumo, Chairman of YAD and CEO of PT ITCI KU Group ARSARI who separately expressed appreciation for the trust of the Ministry of Environment and Forestry. We sincerely hope that wildlife conservation efforts can continue to improve in the future.
- Sunandar (Head of East Kalimantan BKSDA): 081228456697
- Catrini Kubontubuh (Executive Director of YAD): 081381303696
- Odom (Operational Manager of PSO-ARSARI): 081251771543