HABITAT RESTORATION PROGRAM

RHO (Restorasi Habitat Orangutan, which translates as Orangutan Habitat Restoration) is an independent organization established by the Borneo Orangutan Survival (BOS) Foundation in 2009. The sole purpose of the organization is to provide a permanent safe, sufficient forest site for wild or semi-wild, and rehabilitated Bornean orangutans where they can live in freedom, and establish a new, viable wild population to bolster conservation of this endangered species.

Rehabilitated orangutans, while self-sufficient, can rarely be as forest-competent as the wild orangutans who have spent all their lives in the forest. Strict national and international (IUCN) criteria exist for orangutan reintroduction, which our programs follow. These include:

  1. Orangutans must be reintroduced into an area with either no or a low (non viable) population of existing wild orangutans (0.1 individual per square-kilometer), within their historic range.
  2. The forest must be suitable lowland forest (up to 900 m-asl); unfortunately most remaining healthy forests in Indonesia now only exist in higher altitude areas due to land conversion and forest degradation.
  3. The forest must be secure; not in danger of imminent threats of conversion and as far away as possible from human settlements, yet accessible for the team to conduct the actual reintroduction and post-release monitoring.
  4.  Subspecies appropriate locations – meaning East Kalimantan orangutans cannot be released in Central Kalimantan or other forests outside East Kalimantan. Central Kalimantan orangutans cannot be released in West Kalimantan etc. To ensure this, the release candidates must also go through DNA tests to determine subspecies.

Finding a suitable forest as habitat for orangutans has always been the biggest challenge. In reality, orangutan habitat restoration and rehabilitation are laborious and costly activities. Both RHOI and the BOS Foundation need to secure sufficient funds and more land, to ensure long-term success.

For more information, please click here