Inauguration of New BOSF Post-Release Monitoring Camp

Date Posted: June 22, 2023
Text by: BOS Foundation Communications Team, BOS Headquarters, Bogor, West Java

The Himba Pambelum Monitoring Camp was officially opened on 15 June, following the release of four orangutans into the Bukit Baka Bukit Raya National Park (TNBBBR), at the Hiran River site. The orangutan release and inauguration of the new monitoring camp was witnessed by Head of the Bukit Baka Bukit Raya National Park Agency, Andi Muhammad Kadhafi, S.Hut., M.Si., and CEO of the Borneo Orangutan Survival (BOS) Foundation, Dr. Ir. Jamartin Sihite, MSc.

This solemn event began with a traditional ceremony led by a mantir, a local official who assists the damang at the sub-district level. The ceremony was a symbolic gesture of goodwill and acceptance of the release team entering the area: According to local lore, it would also prevent any negative energy from entering the Himba Pambelum (‘Forest of Life’) Monitoring Camp.

This particular ceremony is sacred and unique to the local Dayak community. During the ceremony, the mantir and release team were held off by a length of bamboo wrapped in cloth, which was placed in front of the monitoring camp’s entrance. The release team was not permitted to pass by the bamboo barrier until the ceremony had concluded.

The ritual began with chanting, followed by the distribution of special Dayak klawung, or head coverings, to several members of the release team. The mantir who led the ceremony then enquired as to the reason for the release team’s arrival to the area, which was promptly answered by Andi, the Head of the TNBBBR Agency. The ceremony ended with singing and the sacrafice of a chicken.

Andi, representing the TNBBBR Agency, was then asked to cut through the length of bamboo with a Mandau blade and to step on an egg placed on the stairs. As the members of the monitoring team entered the camp, they were sprinkled with purifying water by the mantir. This part of the ceremony is called the Potong Pantan or Tetek Pantan. Following the procession, the Himba Pambelum Monitoring Camp was officially opened for use.

This new camp is expected to support the orangutan reintroduction process as well as the local surrounding communities.

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