Indonesia: WWF identifies and documents 29 orangutans in Sebangau National Park

Antara 29 Jan 16;

Palangkaraya (ANTARA News) - The World Wide-Life Fund for Nature (WWF), in cooperation with the people in Punggualas village, Palangkaraya, Central Kalimantan, has identified and documented 29 orangutans in the Sebangau National Park.

"During the period between March and December 2015, we have already identified 29 orangutans, of which five were adult females and babies, while the other eight were adult males," WWF coordinator for the Conservation of Sebangau National Park, Okta Simon, stated here on Friday.

The documentation process first began with the search for the orangutans and then moved on to maintaining physical and habitual records of them, which encompassed their social behavior, diet, and the types of sounds they produced.

During the process, the WWF team regularly monitored the day-to-day activities of the orangutans for 10 consecutive days starting from 4 a.m. local time in the morning when the orangutans awoke and continued through the day while they foraged and nested until the time they went to sleep at 5 p.m. local time.

"We decided to restrict this process to ten days in keeping with the concept of conservation, and the point was to ensure that they stayed wild. If the process prolonged for more than ten days, they would have become familiar with the people who followed them," Simon pointed out.

The WWF team comprising four to five people captured pictures of every orangutan to ascertain their identities.

If any of the orangutans were yet to be identified, the team would then designate names to them to facilitate easy identification.

The involvement of the local people during the identification process was important as the Punggualas village is considered to be one of the ecotourism destinations in Palangkaraya.

The area has also become one of the largest orangutan pockets in the world.

"Gaining a comprehensive knowledge about orangutans is a must for the local people, so that they could help in guiding the local or foreign tourists during their visit," Simon stated.

Currently, there are some 33 thousand to 35 thousand orangutans in Central Kalimantan and are considered to be an endangered species.

(Reported by Mentari Dwi Gayati/Uu.Y013/INE/KR-BSR/A014)

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