JAKARTA, Feb. 5 (Xinhua) -- Indonesian officials plan to establish another orangutan rehabilitation center in East Borneo ( Kalimantan) island this year, in a bid to release all apes being held at such centers into the wild, media reported here on Tuesday.
Over 70 percent of the wild orangutan species are living outside protected areas, and the number of the endangered species involving into conflict with humans remained high, thus making it crucially important to have more rehabilitation centers, said Novianto Bambang, the Forestry Ministry's director of biodiversity conservation.
The new center would be constructed on 50 hectares of land in North Penajam Paser and it will be the second orangutan rehabilitation center run by the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation (BOS) in East Kalimantan, he said.
"So we're optimistic that the remaining 700 or so orangutans still being kept at rehabilitation centers can all be released into the wild by 2015, even though we face difficulty finding suitable habitats for them," Noviano was quoted by the Jakarta globe as saying.
There were an estimated 58,500 of the apes remaining in the wild in Kalimantan, most of them in West, Central and South Kalimantan, Hardi Biaktiantoro, the director of the Center for Orangutan Protection, an activist group, said.
Only around 4,800 are believed to remain in East Kalimantan, " the orangutan population in East Kalimantan continues to decline along with the conversion of forested land for other uses," Hardi said.