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The KPC Reclamation Area is Still Inhabited by Orangutans – PT Kaltim Prima Coal

The KPC Reclamation Area is Still Inhabited by Orangutans

Orangutan researcher Dr. Yaya Rayadin, Lecturer at Mulawarman University’s Faculty of Forestry, stated that orangutans appear to be at ease in PT Kaltim Prima Coal’s reclamation and mining forest areas. This happens because the KPC reclamation area is closed and cannot be accessed by anyone. Aside from that, recovered forests provide a diverse range of food and appropriate tree cover for orangutan nests.

This was revealed from the results of research conducted by the Ecology and Conservation Center for Tropical Studies (Ecositrop), in the KPC reclamation area. This research was held in 2012, 2018, 2021 and is currently still ongoing in 2024.

“Our research from Ecositrop shows that orangutans feel safe in the KPC reclamation area. That’s because there is minimal human interference because the area is closed. Apart from that, orangutan food is also quite diverse in the reclamation area,” said Yaya at the Socialization event for Handling Protected Wild Animal (Orangutan) Interactions, at Wisma Rayah KPC, last February 2024.

Apart from fruit plants, orangutans also eat the bark and cambium of Sengon Buto, Kaliandra, Mahogany, Sengon, Ketapang trees. Apart from that, it eats flowers, leaves and even insects. “This variety of food is what makes orangutans survive so well, including in the KPC reclamation forest,” said Yaya.

According to Yaya, currently there are still many orangutans found in the KPC mining area. This can be seen from the findings of the number of nests in the area studied by Ecositrop. Not surprisingly, the KPC area is located in the Kutai landscape, which is the habitat of the Pongo pygmaeus morio orangutan, a type of orangutan that lives in East Kalimantan.

At the last Socialization event for Handling Interactions with Protected Wild Animals (Orangutans), Dr Yaya Rayadin appeared as a speaker together with the Head of the East Kalimantan Conservation and Natural Resources Agency (BKSDA) M. Ari Wibawanto, S. Hut., M. Sc and KPC Environmental Manager Kiagus Nirwan .

According to the 2016 Orangutan Population and Habitat Viability Assessment (PHVA) report, quoted by the Head of the East Kalimantan Conservation and Natural Resources Agency (BKSDA) M. Ari Wibawanto, S. Hut., M. Sc, the number of Pongo pygmaeus morio orangutans reached 14,630 individual. This means that the orangutan population in the KPC area is estimated to reach 2.7 – 3.4 percent.

To provide a comfortable habitat for orangutans, KPC has built a conservation area of more than 1,538 hectares. According to Ki Agus Nirwan, KPC Environment Manager, the area consists of the Taman Payau conservation area covering an area of 163.60 hectares and the Pinang Dome conservation area covering an area of 968.71 hectares. Apart from that, the Murung and Swarga Bara Arboretum Conservation areas have been built covering an area of 23.56 hectares and the Tanjung Bara Mangrove conservation area covering an area of 382.92 hectares.

Apart from this purpose-built conservation area, orangutans in the KPC mining concession area live in natural forests. Because up to now, only 25 percent of the KPC area is open and being mined, while the rest has not been touched.(*)