REPUBLIKA.CO.ID, PALANGKA RAYA -- Dozens of orang utans undergoing rehabilitation in the Borneo Orangutan Survival (BOS) Foundation area in Nyaru Menteng, Central Kalimantan Province, are reportedly ailing from acute respiratory tract infection triggered by haze in the past few weeks.
The disease-stricken orang utans, including those caged and attending forest schooling, are adults and those under the age of five, BOS Foundation veterinarian Viet remarked in Palangka Raya, the capital of Central Kalimantan Province, on Tuesday.
"The forest schooling location is not too far from the burned forest and likely one of the causative factors to acute respiratory tract infection in dozens of orangutans," Viet stated.
Speaking in connection with the rehabilitated orangutans released into several forests, Viet noted that the foundation had yet to locate any of them exposed to haze. However, the foundation will constantly monitor the forests to which the orang utans have been released.
Viet admitted to prioritizing the care and monitoring of orang utans at the rehabilitation center. If any are found to be infected, he will immediately administer herbal medicine, vitamin supplements, and so on.
"We mix the herbal medicine from onion to be administered to the orang utans suffering from acute respiratory tract infection. Some of them have recovered but then suffered a relapse due to haze," he explained.
The air pollution standard index issued by the Environment and Forestry Ministry showed that the air quality in Central Kalimantan, especially Palangka Raya, has reached a hazardous level to humans and animals.
The thick smog, induced by forest and land fires, has also compelled the local government to close schools, ranging from kindergarten to institutes of higher learning. The haze has also led to the cancellation of flights from and to the Tjilik Riwut Airport in Palangka Raya.