Video: BOS Foundation: Covid-19 Update
July 2020 — The BOS Foundation is now in its fourth month since it closed its rehabilitation centers to visitors, due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. Over this time, BOS has remained committed to providing the best care possible for all of the orangutans at both the Nyaru Menteng and Samboja Lestari orangutan rehabilitation centers.
In addition to applying stricter health protocols and adjusting daily standard operating procedures, BOS has also changed the staff’s work roster by adopting a ‘2 days on, 2 days off’ system, with each team member assigned to a particular area for their shifts. As stated by Vet Arga during an interview, "The opportunity for staff members to meet face-to-face on the job is now quite rare."
In order to keep the orangutans healthy, the BOS Foundation has adopted the ‘One Health’ approach, which requires all staff members working in the rehabilitation centers to be in good health. This means that the number of staff who are able to interact directly with the orangutans has also been limited.
Staff are required to wash their hands more often than usual, and wear surgical masks and protective gloves. All disposable items are burned after the working day is over. These procedures have resulted in the increased use of hand soap, masks, and gloves. Meanwhile, the market supply of these items is dwindling and prices are skyrocketing. The gloves that staff rely on daily have seen a 167% increase in price, and whenever they need a new box of surgical masks to protect veterinarians, there is a 762% markup in pricing!
Four months of working under these unique conditions has certainly had an effect on how staff members operate. The positive is that they are now familiar with the more restrictive work protocols and they have adjusted to this ‘new normal’ as outlined by the government.
Forest School is Still in Session
While the humans at the rehabilitation centers work hard to adjust to these new measures, the orangutans are going about their usual business, working through the stages of rehabilitation in Forest School. Their routine has not changed; they still depart for the forest early in the morning, and return in the late afternoon after a day of discovery and learning.
The feeding schedule for orangutans at the rehabilitation centers and on pre-release islands is also still the same: twice daily, in the morning and late afternoon. The same goes for the cleaning of orangutan enclosures, with routine, scheduled cleaning being carried out in the morning and late afternoon. BOS is maintaining a strict regime of spraying disinfectant around the compound and enclosures three times a week to ensure a clean and healthy environment.
To ensure that the orangutans at the rehabilitation centers are protected from possible COVID-19 exposure, the BOS Foundation has conducted rapid tests on personnel at both its rehabilitation centers. These tests have been made possible thanks to the generous support of the government and local health institutions.
Dedicated BOS veterinarians, surrogate mothers, and technicians are working tirelessly to ensure that the orangutans in the centers remain safe and healthy. Their dedication and efforts contribute greatly to the very survival of this Critically Endangered species. Every one of the team members is doing their best to make sure they stay in good health and follow all safety procedures, both to protect the orangutans in their care and their own loving families waiting for them at home.
We are grateful that so far there have been no cases of COVID-19 in and around our orangutan rehabilitation centers.The BOS Foundation has also prepared steps for the worst case scenario, if a test were to be positive. Thankfully, thus far, all test results indicate that none of our field staff members have been exposed to the coronavirus. You too can help us save orangutans from your home, simply by visiting our website, or clicking on the link below to make a tax-deductible donation.
While the world grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic, we hope that people will not forget the plight of orangutans, and that the campaign for their survival will continue.
Orangutans in Borneo Need Your Help!
Please support the BOSF Emergency Covid-19 Relief Fund