Second wild infant born, the first female, at Sumatran Orangutan Reintroduction Centre in Jantho, Aceh
- Balai Konservasi Sumber Daya Alam Aceh (BKSDA Aceh, Aceh Provincial Conservation Agency of Indonesia’s Ministry of Environment and Forestry)
- Yayasan Ekosistem Lestari – Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme (YEL-SOCP)
November 7th 2017, staff of the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme (SOCP), whilst monitoring previously released orangutans in the Jantho Nature Reserve, in Aceh, Indonesia, came across a female known as Mongki, who was released in the area back in 2011.
Mongki has visited the site of her original release 2 or 3 times a year since she was released, but this time the field monitoring team noticed something different about her, and were delighted to see that she was carrying a newborn infant! This infant is only the second known to have been conceived and born in the wild in Jantho since reintroductions began there in 2011. She is also the first female infant, and has been named ‘Mameh’ by the team, meaning ‘beautiful’ in the local Acehnese language.
Earlier, in September 2017 the SOCP and BKSDA Aceh announced the birth of the very first infant conceived and born in the wild in Jantho, possibly the first for several hundred years. That infant was a male, named Masen and estimated to already be about 1.5 years old at the time, born to an adult female orangutan named Marconi. Masen is the first infant to be born to an entirely new wild population of orangutans being established in Jantho by the SOCP. Mameh is now the second, and the very first female!
The SOCP first began releasing confiscated former illegal pet orangutans in Jantho in 2011 and to date has reintroduced 100 orangutans into Jantho’s forests. Mameh’s mother, Mongki, was first confiscated from Meulaboh, Aceh in January 2010. She was found with her neck chained to a cage in a car garage of a businessman. She was then released in Jantho on June 2011, after 1,5 years care and rehabilitation at the SOCP’s specialist Quarantine centre near Medan, in North Sumatra.
“This is fantastic news” proclaimed Dr Ian Singleton, Director of the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme. “We’ve been working hard in Jantho to gradually establish and entirely, and self sustaining new wild population of the species in the forests there. The goal is to reintroduce over 350 orangutans in Jantho over the coming years, to create an entirely new, self-sustaining wild population of this critically endangered species.”
Muhklisin, manager of the Orangutan Reintroduction Centre in Jantho added “This is really great news. After several years of reintroducing orangutans in Jantho we are finally seeing the results of all our hard work. With Masen, and now Mameh, we are witnessing the beginnings of the new population we’re trying to establish, one that will eventually be comprised of individual orangutans that have never experienced captivity or contact with humans. Mongki’s new female infant gives all of us new hope that we really can prevent the extinction of these amazing creatures.”
Drh. Citrakasih Nente, Supervisor of quarantine and reintroduction for the SOCP, added, “News of Masen’s birth last August was a real boost to our work in Jantho but we are especially pleased with the news of Mameh’s birth, since she is a female, and will hopefully live a long life and produce several infants of her own during her lifetime, making a significant contribution to the long viability of the new population in Jantho, and to the survival of her species as a whole! We’re all absolutely delighted!”
Sapto, Head of the Aceh Conservation Agency emphasized, “We’ve been waiting for the released orangutans in Jantho to start breeding and these two infants are a sure sign that things are going well for the new population.
What we must do now, however, is deal with the root of the problem, and the fact that orangutans like Marconi and Mongki, and many others, are still being captured and kept illegally as pets in the first place. It is illegal to capture, kill, trade, own or even transport an orangutan in Indonesia and prosecutions are on the increase. People need to be aware that they face prosecution, fines and prison if they get involved in these criminal activities!”
- The Sumatran orangutan (Pongo abelii) is a distinct species from the newly identified Tapanuli orangutan (Pongo tapanuliensis) in Batang Toru, Sumatra, and also its neighbor in Borneo (Pongo pygmaeus).
- Less than 14,000 Sumatran orangutans remain in the wild and the species is listed as Critically Endangered by the World Conservation Union (IUCN) in their Red List of Threatened Species.
- The Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme (sumatranorangutan.org) is a collaborative initiative implemented by the Swiss based PanEco Foundation (www.paneco.ch), its Indonesian partner Yayasan Ekosistem Lestari (YEL: Sustainable Ecosystem Foundation; www.yel.or.id), and the Indonesian Ministry of Environment and Forestry’s Directorate General of Natural Resource and Ecosystems Conservation (Ditjen KSDAE; www.ksdae.menlhk.go.id).
- The SOCP is active in all aspects of Sumatran orangutan conservation including:
- Confiscation and reintroduction of illegally captive orangutans to create new wild populations.
- Surveys and monitoring of remaining wild Sumatran orangutan populations.
- Environmental education and awareness raising.
- Habitat protection
- Since 2001 the SOCP has received over 350 orangutans at its specialist orangutan Quarantine Centre near Medan, North Sumatra. Over 170 of these have been released at the SOCP Reintroduction Centre in Jambi, in southern Sumatra and since 2011, 100 have been reintroduced to the forests of Jantho, in Aceh province.
- Suryadi, YEL-SOCP Communications, Email: [email protected], Tel: +62 812 88354572
- Citrakasih Nente, Supervisor Quarantine and Reintroduction, YEL-SOCP, Email: [email protected], Tel: +62 812 53041021
- Sapto Aji Prabowo, Kepala Balai KSDA Aceh. Email: [email protected]. Tel: +62 812 5006527