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Borneo and Sumatra Orangutan Crisis
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Joined: Mon Mar 10th, 2008
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 Posted: Sun Jan 1st, 2012 05:29 am


Palm oil threat to Indonesia's orangutans

27 December 2011 Last updated at 03:37 ET

By Karishma Vaswani BBC News, East Kalimantan
Rosa cares for baby orangutan Elaine at the Samboja Lestari sanctuary


Eight-month-old baby orangutan Elaine would have never survived without her carer Rosa

Coaxing the infant ape to eat, Rosa uses a mixture of baby-talk orangutan sounds, trying to mimic the noises Elaine's mum would have made if she were here.

The baby orangutan and her mother were separated when they were chased off a palm oil plantation by some workers. It is not clear whether the older orangutan is even alive.

Now, Elaine depends on Rosa for care.

"She usually cries when I leave," Rosa said, cradling the baby ape. "So I need to always be close to her."

Elaine is one of two baby orangutans rescued from palm oil plantations in the last few months and brought to the Samboja Lestari sanctuary in East Kalimantan.

Orangutans are very vulnerable when they first arrive at the sanctuary, explained Ascheta Bastuni Tajuddin, the manager of Samboja Lestari.

"The two babies Elaine and Mads, they were really stressed,'' she said. ''One had diarrhoea, and the other had fever."

''Most of the orangutans we have here are confiscated from people's houses,'' she added. ''But lately, there are several baby orangutans that we have rescued who have been separated from their mothers.

''Either the mother is killed or runs away because of the people chasing her on palm oil plantations.''

Chased and killed

Unfortunately, Elaine and Mads are not unique cases. There have been a number of reports of late of orangutans being chased away on palm oil plantations in East Kalimantan. At least 750 are thought to have been killed during 2008 and 2009.

Orangutans, amongst the most endangered species in Indonesia, are increasingly under threat in their own homes.

In the last few weeks, Indonesian police have arrested five palm oil plantation workers on suspicion of killing the great apes, bringing the total number of those arrested to nine.


 Ronal, a plantation worker, says plantations view orangutans as pests
On the bumpy car ride to the area in East Kalimantan where many of the killings are thought to have taken place, it was apparent that much of the landscape had been converted into palm oil plantations.

"Just 10 years ago, this was all forest," Rudi, who drove the BBC team to the sanctuary, said. "These areas used to be the homes of the orangutans until the palm oil plantations came.''

The orangutan lumbered slowly across the dirt road, one giant arm swinging against the other. He paused, as if startled by something he heard, and proceeded to scamper quickly off into the forest.

He moved too fast for a photograph to be taken. It was very rare to see an orangutan in the wild, said Mike, the BBC's guide from the Centre of Orangutan Protection.

"Unfortunately, he might not be so lucky,'' he added. ''This is very near the area where many of the killings of orangutans have been reported. He could be the next victim."

Last edited on Sun Jan 1st, 2012 05:35 am by sydneyst


Joined: Mon Mar 10th, 2008
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 Posted: Fri Dec 4th, 2009 12:14 pm


Jakarta Halts Deforestation in Sumatra's Kampar Peninsula

AFP – Nov 19, 2009
JAKARTA — Environmentalists claimed a small victory on Thursday after Indonesia ordered one of the country's biggest pulp and paper companies to halt forest clearing in the Kampar Peninsula.

Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan told reporters he had ordered Asia Pacific Resources International Holding Limited (APRIL) to suspend clearing in the area of Sumatra island pending a review of all its permits.

The peninsula's 400,000 hectares (988,420 acres) of peatland forest is home to rare species including Sumatran tigers and forms part of one of the largest natural carbon "sinks" in the world. The clearing and burning of Indonesia's peatlands account for four percent of total global greenhouse gas emissions, according to Greenpeace, which established a "defenders' camp" in the forest more than three weeks ago.

"Greenpeace expects the forest minister to do a comprehensive review of all the existing permits and concessions for pulp and paper companies in the Kampar Peninsula," Greenpeace Southeast Asia Forest campaigner Bustar Maitar said.

"The main players in the destruction of these precious peatlands are the pulp and paper giants -- Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) and its main rival APRIL."
Greenpeace's camp has been visited by "Inglourious Basterds" star Melanie Laurent and US Ambassador Cameron R. Hume.

But a "non-violent direct action" which drew international media attention on November 12 resulted in the deportation of 13 international Greenpeace activists and two foreign journalists, Greenpeace said.

Greenpeace Southeast Asia campaign director Shailendra Yashwant called on Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to issue a moratorium on deforestation ahead of global climate talks in Copenhagen..."He must stop Indonesia's rampant deforestation that makes the country the third largest emitter of greenhouse gas emissions," he said in a statement.

Last edited on Fri Dec 4th, 2009 12:21 pm by sydneyst


Joined: Mon Mar 10th, 2008
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 Posted: Mon Jul 20th, 2009 10:55 pm


Orangutan Rescue: Pulp Company Endangers Orang Survival in Sumatra

Sydney's Thumb composite from Sydney Morning Herald July 4, 2009
and National Geographic

...One of the world's largest pulp and paper companies, Asia Pulp & Paper, a division of the Sinar Mas group, plans to log sensitive tracts of forest in Sumatra in a move expected to undermine the survival prospects of many of the 6000 orangutans still clinging on there.  Logging plans target 180,000 hectares of forest around Bukit Tigapuluh National Park on Sumatra, the sole haven of the orangutan breeding program...

The company meets much of the global demand for pulp from its eucalyptus and acacia plantations. Many Australian companies are involved in importing and distributing items that use products based on timber from APP and its subsidiaries.

Woolworths removed some APP tissues and toilet paper from its shelves in 2007 after a campaign by unions and green groups showed that packaging on its Select and Homebrand products carried a bogus forest sustainability symbol. Woolworths has since reviewed its paper supply chain. APP maintains that it is a sustainable producer of timber and pulp.

Michael Kennedy, of the Australian branch of Humane Society International, said organising a boycott of products was difficult because of the maze of suppliers and the difficulty of verifying claims. "It does undermine the orangutan project in a sense because people are inadvertently supporting products that are destroying their habitat. We've spent a lot of money, and so have others, on the project and all that will go to naught if APP's proposal goes ahead."

The president of the orangutan project, Leif Cocks, the curator of Perth Zoo, said he believed the Sumatran orangutans would be extinct in the wild within a decade, so maintaining a habitat for protected breeding stock was extremely important.
In February 2008 UNEP issued an important report suggesting that orang habitat might be gone in 15 years unless urgent conservation action is taken.  About 60,000 orangutans—which are native to the Southeast Asian islands of Sumatra and Borneo—remain in the wild, conservationists believe (
Indonesia map).  

The great apes share their habitat with the Sumatran tiger, Sumatran rhinoceros, Asian elephant, and other threatened species.
Harvard anthropologist, Cheryl Knott concurs: "This is a very important report that shows the alarming acceleration of habitat destruction in Indonesia.  The international community needs to support the Indonesian government in their efforts to combat this problem," she added. "We can help through providing funding for orangutan conservation and habitat protection programs in Indonesia."

Knott directs an orangutan research and conservation project at Gunung Palung National Park on Borneo that receives funding from the National Geographic Society's Committee for Research and Exploration.

Last edited on Mon Jul 20th, 2009 03:10 pm by sydneyst

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Last edited on Tue Jul 21st, 2009 12:04 am by sydneyst


Joined: Mon Mar 10th, 2008
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 Posted: Thu Aug 28th, 2008 06:34 pm


Beautiful Video on Fate of Borneo Orangutans 

Borneo Orangutan Survival of the UK has produced a beautiful video that can be viewed on You Tube. BOS runs the Nyaru Menteng orangutan sanctuary, the largest refuge of its kind in the world, which cares for over 650 orangutans, many of them babies suffering from  starvation, injury, fire and other extreme trauma.

Manager, Lone Droscher Nielsen, and her staff try to nurse the babies back to health and help them develop the ability to survive in the wild.

photo: IFAW


Last edited on Sun Aug 31st, 2008 05:29 am by sydneyst

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