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.
« 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)