KUTAI KARTANEGARA, East Kalimantan: The Kutai Kartanegara district police in East Kalimantan have rescued a 1.5-year-old orangutan which had strayed into private fields, a police spokesman said on Thursday, Jakarta Globe reported.
Adj. Comr. Suwarno, the Kutai Kartanegara district police spokesman, said that villagers found the stray orangutan in a field in Gunung Sari village, in the Tabang subdistrict of Tabang on Tuesday.
“The discovery was made by a resident in his field and at the same time a police member was passing through the area. The field owner initially was reluctant to hand over the orangutan, but after persuasion, he later did so,” Suwarno said.
The orangutan was then taken to the district police station and from there was handed over to the Tenggarong chapter of the Natural Resources Conservancy Agency (BKSDA) to be rehabilitated and later released back into the wild.
BKSDA area II section head Gustina said that following a high-profile trial involving plantation workers and managers who allegedly killed orangutans on their fields, East Kalimantan residents have become more aware that orangutans should not be killed or kept as pets.
Gustina also said that since the start of 2013, six orangutans handed over to authorities by residents and students. They were all found in fields on the margins of palm oil plantations or mines.
She also said that her institution is working with other groups to educate people that it is against the law to kill or capture orangutans.
“The education is continuing, especially in villages near orangutan habitats that have been converted into palm oil plantation or mines. The awareness of residents is now very high and in just two months we have already received six orangutans,” she said.
Gustina said that once deemed fit, the orangutan would be sent to the Samboja Orangutan Rehabilitation Center for further care.