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Conservation efforts under our authority, says environment ministry

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Jakarta,Indonesia

The Environment and Forestry Ministry released a statement on Friday asserting its authority in conservation efforts in Indonesia.

The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Indonesia collaborating with Amazon Web Services (AWS) in the conservation of orangutans in Kalimantan, the ministry expressed three points.

It emphasized that the management of all species, including in-situ and ex-situ data and information, was under the oversight of the Natural Resource and Ecosystem Conservation Directorate General.

In an online press conference on June 4, WWF Indonesia finance and technology director Aria Nagasastra said a facial recognition tool prototype was being used to help identify individual orangutans, while a large database kept track of the animals.

According to WWF Indonesia data, the orangutan population in Kalimantan had declined by more than 50 percent in the last 60 years.

The ministry said that it and its partners had agreed to use the population and habitat data from the population and habitat viability assessment. Based data from 2016, it was estimated there were around 57,350 individual orangutans in an area of 160,139 square kilometers. The orangutan population is constantly monitored with the help of 21 sites. In Sebangau National Park alone, its population is considered stable with an estimate of 6,080 individual orangutans.

Regarding WWF Indonesia’s statement that it had conducted assessments on the orangutans’ well-being and built a conservation area at Sebangau National Park in Central Kalimantan in 2005, the ministry said the park was converted from forest area based on a 2004 decree on restoring its function as a national park. The area is meant to protect the orangutan habitat in Kalimantan and is managed by Sebangau National Park Agency of the conservation directorate general.

The ministry terminated on Jan. 10 a contract with WWF Indonesia that was supposed to last until 2023 and stated that it had not made a new agreement with the organization. (wng)

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