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Orang­utan res­cued from peat for­est endan­gered by palm oil fires

pub­lished 20 April 2012 | mod­i­fied 05 Decem­ber 2012

Con­ser­va­tion­ists today res­cued an adult male orang­utan from a pocket of for­est in Tripa, an area of deep peat that is at the cen­ter of bat­tle over Indonesia’s com­mit­ment to reduc­ing deforestation.

A res­cue team from the Suma­tran Orang­utan Con­ser­va­tion Pro­gramme (SOCP), Yayasan Eko­sis­tem Lestari (YEL) and BKSDA Aceh (the Indone­sian Min­istry of Forestry’s nature con­ser­va­tion agency in Aceh) cap­tured the red ape in a frag­ment of for­est near the edge of an oil palm con­ces­sions that is cur­rently being con­tested by envi­ron­men­tal­ists and Indonesia’s REDD+ Task Force. The con­ces­sion, which is con­trolled by palm oil com­pany PT Kallista Alam, was granted last year by for­mer Aceh Gov­er­nor Irwandi Yusuf. Envi­ron­men­tal­ists and local com­mu­ni­ties say the license was granted ille­gally, break­ing a national mora­to­rium on new for­est con­ces­sions in peat­lands, vio­lat­ing a decree on deep peat con­ver­sion, and ignor­ing the area’s pro­tected sta­tus as part of the Greater Leuser Ecosys­tem. The Min­istry of Envi­ron­ment — at the prod­ding of the REDD+ Task Force — is now inves­ti­gat­ing the license. Kun­toro Mangkusub­roto, the head of the REDD+ Task Force, says PT Kallista Alam could face crim­i­nal charges for clear­ing the forest.

orangutan rescuesumatra gunung leuser national park sumatra gunung leuser oil palm

We have been forced to take action and res­cue this Suma­tran orang­utan today as oth­er­wise he would have starved to death, and many other orang­utans in Tripa are fac­ing the same fate, if legal actions against those com­pa­nies break­ing national laws can­not imme­di­ately stop the destruction

« SOCP Direc­tor Ian Singleton

The res­cued orang­utan was under­weight, show­ing signs of mal­nu­tri­tion, accord­ing to Yenny Saraswati, a vet­eri­nar­ian with SOCP. “If we hadn’t res­cued him now he would even­tu­ally have starved to death”, she said in a state­ment. “We’ve res­cued sev­eral orang­utans like this in Tripa over the last few years. We don’t like doing it, its risky for the ani­mals as after they’re darted they fall from the tree and can get seri­ous injuries, like bro­ken bones. It would be much bet­ter for them if they could sim­ply stay in the forests, but if the forests are dis­ap­pear­ing, we have to try to do something!”

Indrianto, a field worker with YEL, added that orang­utans liv­ing in prox­im­ity to oil palm plan­ta­tions face sig­nif­i­cant risks. “Many orang­utans get killed or cap­tured by plan­ta­tion work­ers, some end­ing up as ille­gal pets,” said Indrianto. “The orang­utan we res­cued today had already begun eat­ing the shoots of oil palm seedlings nearby, as he had noth­ing else to eat, and would almost cer­tainly have been killed for this if we hadn’t inter­vened.” And then there is the risk of get­ting cor­nered by for­est fires.

SOCP Direc­tor Ian Sin­gle­ton said that unless remain­ing forests in Tripa are imme­di­ately pro­tected and clear­ing halted, remain­ing orang­utans face a dire future.

Please have a look at this video, posted on 18 March 2012 by Car­los Quiles, which shows and tells the cur­rent story of the Leuser Ecosys­tem and its inhab­i­tants in Tripa, Suma­tra, Indonesia:

And just to remind you that not only Orang­utans rep­re­sent the mam­mals of the Leuser Ecosys­tem, see this video posted by the Leuser Ecosys­tem Man­age­ment Author­ity (BPKEL):

The above news is reprinted from mate­ri­als avail­able at Mongabay. Orig­i­nal text may be edited for con­tent and lenght.

(Source: Mongabay​.com, 18.04.2012)

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