Research on the population and distribution of the East Kalimantan Orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus morio) which was presented at the initial coordination meeting for the preparation of standard operating procedures (SOP) for orangutan conservation by Ecositrop and the East Kalimantan BKSDA, showed that almost 90 percent of orangutan population in the forests of Berau, East Kutai, and Kutai Kartanegara reside outside the conservation area. The Morio orangutans, instead, were spotted in concession areas of oil palm plantations, coal mining, industrial tree plantations (HTI), production forests, and residential areas.
Under these circumstances, the potential conflict between primates and humans is highly probable. Therefore, an understanding of ecological behavior and guidelines for handling orangutans in operational areas for conservation purposes is a must for employees. On principle, the utilization of forests for economic activities must go hand in hand with the preservation of forests and all the creatures in them.
Efforts to develop standard operating procedures (SOP) for orangutan conservation in concession areas have commenced. The initial meeting initiated by Ecositrop, a tropical forest ecosystem research and conservation institute, and the East Kalimantan Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA), was held on January 16, 2023, in Samarinda.
This initial step of the orangutan conservation effort brought together stakeholders, including companies with granted concessions. PT Indominco Mandiri (IMM) was also present at this activity as one of the stakeholders with other companies invited to contribute to developing SOPs for orangutan conservation in this concession area.
Representing the IMM Management at the initial coordination meeting with Ecositrop and the East Kalimantan BKSDA, Pak Hasto Pranowo, External Affairs Head of IMM, said “It is an honor for IMM and ITM to be involved in orangutan conservation efforts in East Kalimantan Province. IMM will provide maximum support in preparing SOP for orangutan conservation in the concession area. The experience and knowledge we gain from handling orangutans in our working areas and managing the IMM arboretum, which has been a home for orangutans, is significant capital of our contribution. More than that, being involved in preparing SOP for Orangutan conservation is also an opportunity for the Company to realize its commitment as a greener company."
IMM has sufficient empirical experience from managing an arboretum covering an area of 65 hectares, a post-mining reclamation area that has been developed into a location for placing plant collections. In its development, the IMM arboretum has naturally transformed into a forest area with good ecosystem function, which is characterized by the presence of various endemic flora and fauna, including several protected species of mammals, birds, and primates.
The SOP for orangutan conservation in the concession area is expected to become a guide for employees for orangutan conservation and anticipating conflicts. It was further explained that the initial meeting became a forum for stakeholders to share knowledge and map the whereabouts of orangutans and potential conflicts.
"The potential for conflict with orangutans is inevitable. Therefore, it is important for all stakeholders, especially employees, and companies owning concessions, to continue learning and improving their HR capabilities to mitigate the conflict's impact. For this reason, we need to develop an SOP that is appropriate to the landscape as a standardized guide for employees in the concession area," said Ari Wibawanto, Head of the East Kalimantan BKSDA, at the initial meeting to prepare the SOP for orangutan conservation in Samarinda.***