JAKARTA, Feb. 5 (UPI) -- Indonesian officials say they plan to create an orangutan rehabilitation center with the ultimate goal of releasing all apes held at such centers into the wild.
The numbers of endangered orangutans experiencing conflict with humans and loss of habitat remains high, making it crucially important to have more rehabilitation centers, Novianto Bambang, the Forestry Ministry's director of biodiversity conservation, said.
The new center would be constructed on 125 acres of land in the Indonesian province of East Kalimantan and will be the second orangutan rehabilitation center run by the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation, China's state-run news agency Xinhua reported Tuesday.
"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," Novianto told the Jakarta Globe.
An estimated 58,500 of the apes remain in the wild in the province, Hardi Biaktiantoro, the director of the activist group Center for Orangutan Protection said.
"The orangutan population in East Kalimantan continues to decline along with the conversion of forested land for other uses," Hardi said.