Orangutan Expert Urges Travel To Indonesia Now

Deforestation Pushing Orangutans Toward Extinction

By Kelly Dinardo, New York Times

It was the orangutan’s eyes that first struck Biruté Mary Galdikas. “They look very human,” said Dr. Galdikas, an anthropologist and the president of Orangutan Foundation International. “They have a very strong gaze that will penetrate you,” she said. “It’s almost hypnotic.”

In the early ’70s, Dr. Galdikas traveled from Los Angeles to the Indonesian province of Central Kalimantan on Borneo island to study the red-haired primates. She has spent much of the last 45 years on the island, researching the orangutan and fighting to protect its habitat.

Birutie Galdikas Camp Leakey Indonesia

For decades, Dr. Galdikas was one of the few travelers to the inner region of Borneo. Getting there required an arduous journey and there was little infrastructure once one arrived. Government investment in the region and a smattering of eco-lodges and expedition companies are changing that.

The draw for most visitors is Camp Leakey, the research and education center in Tanjung Puting National Park that Dr. Galdikas established and named for her mentor, Louis Leakey, the paleontologist, archaeologist and anthropologist. Below are edited excerpts from a conversation with Dr. Galdikas about Kalimantan, Camp Leakey and the orangutans.

Q. How has Kalimantan changed?

A. In 1971 when I first went there, it was one of the wildest places left on earth. There were still headhunters on the interior. There were no roads. Rivers were the only highways.

How has tourism changed?

Tourism began in this area only about 20 years ago. I remember a pamphlet that the government issued that told people what a tourist was, what you did with a tourist. One of the wonderful things about Indonesia is the warm, gracious people. They treat tourists as guests.

We have encouraged tourism. We wanted to bring tourists to increase awareness of the orangutans. At Camp Leakey, we see up to 15,000 a year from all over the world. The local people saw them coming in and built up the tourism industry. The good thing is that the money stays in the area. The cooks are local. The guides are local. The boats are local. That’s one of the reasons the local people are so supportive.

Birutie Galdikas Camp Leakey

What do visitors do or see at Camp Leakey?

After you go into the education center, you can walk to the feeding station. Once a day, the orangutans are provided with fruit and they usually come through the trees to the feeding platform. The feeding lasts two hours and some people watch them the whole time.

The time to come is now. I went to see the gorillas in Rwanda and there are only a limited number of visitors allowed. There are very strict rules. It’s wise. The national park at Tanjung Puting has investigated what it would take to set up a system like that. There’s no limit at this point. It’s not necessary yet. You get very intimate encounters with the orangutans at Camp Leakey.

Besides increasing awareness, how has tourism impacted the orangutans?

So far it’s mainly been good. The tourism is controlled. You can only come to the feeding [at Camp Leakey]. You’re not allowed to wander alone in the forest. It enhances the value of the park to the local people and then they will fight for it. Tourism directly benefits the orangutans. It makes the local people want to protect them.

The main issue for orangutans in Southeast Asia is palm oil plantations. The forest needs to be cleared completely for the plantations.

Indonesia forest conservation

Orangutans spend 90 percent of their time in the tree canopy. When you cut down the trees, they have nowhere to go. We’re headed toward a point where most of the orangutans we see will be in captivity or at Tanjung Puting.

Indonesia Travel Update via http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/29/travel/birute-mary-galdikas-orangutan-expert-visiting-indonesia.html

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Crossbow Communications specializes in international marketing, issue management and public affairs. Indonesia is one of our regions of expertise. Our President and founder is the author of the Language and Travel Guide to Indonesia. Please contact Gary Chandler at gary@crossbow1.com. Visit Indonesia.

Orangutans, Tigers Under Pressure In Indonesia

Sumatran Tiger The Last Of Indonesia’s Three Subspecies

Most visitors to Indonesia hope to see the Sumatran tiger. However, this beautiful animal rarely shows itself. Unfortunately, human development and destruction has already pushed two other tiger species in Indonesia into extinction. The Javan tiger was declared extinct in 1994 and the Bali tiger was last seen several decades before that. Fewer than 300 Sumatran tigers are left in the wild and the number is dropping steadily.

Sumatra tiger conservation

If habitat destruction and poaching across Asia are not stopped, wild tigers have just a few years to survive. Tiger bones and body parts are sold on the black market for use in traditional Chinese medicines. This demand alone is putting tremendous pressure on these beautiful animals. Meanwhile, the forests where they live are being destroyed for timber, mining, and farming–especially palm oil plantations. Each animal needs up to 20 square miles to survive and forests are a vanishing resource in many regions.

Orangutan Habitat Torched On Borneo, Sumatra

The orangutan is another favorite attraction among wildlife enthusiasts. In Indonesia, its name means man of the forest. The orangutan is the only great ape found in Asia and it is highly endangered because of habitat destruction and illegal poaching. Orangutans live in the wet and hot forests of Sumatra and Kalimantan (Borneo).

The orangutan is one of the most impressive and famous apes in the world. The orangutan is the largest tree-dwelling animal on the planet and the second-largest great ape behind the gorilla. A full grown male is as large as a man, but several times stronger. The mature male has large, fleshy cheek pads and a heavy throat pouch. It can weigh more than 250 pounds. The full-grown female is about half that weight.

orangutan Camp Leakey

Adult orangutans have an intelligence level similar to that of a five-year-old child. They move through the forest high in the canopy, swinging from tree to tree. Orangutans range over large areas in pursuit of food, including fruit, bark, leaves, flowers, and insects. They live a nomadic lifestyle that depends on food availability.

The males frequently come down to the ground to travel longer distances, while the females rarely leave the trees. They have a solitary lifestyle, unlike other species of monkeys or apes. However, mothers will intentionally bring their young together to play. They make new beds high in the trees every day because they refuse to use the same bed more than once.

Orangutan conservation Borneo

Females are not sexually active until they are about 15 years old. They usually reproduce about once every seven years, because the mothers care for their babies for about five years. Females rarely give birth more than three times in their life, which is the longest birth interval of any mammal. This fact doesn’t bode well for a species under siege.

Orangutans also are the victims of an illegal pet trade. Illegal poachers take the baby orangutans after killing their mothers. They sell the babies as pets in places such as Taipei.

Indonesian law has protected orangutans since 1925, but enforcing the law and confiscating orangutans from people is a complicated process. In the past, when a government official found someone possessing an orangutan, the animal either had to be released immediately or put to sleep. Since the government rarely had the facilities or the training to properly prepare the animals for release into the wild, and since no one wanted to destroy the animals, few orangutans were confiscated. Thanks to the development of orangutan rehabilitation centers, such as Camp Leakey, Wanariset Station, and others, captured orangutans now have a better chance to return to the wild. Unfortunately, reintroduction is very challenging and does not always work.

Sumatra tiger conservation

Habitat destruction is the greatest threat to the survival of the orangutan. It depends on the rainforest to survive. More than half of the world’s tropical rainforests have been destroyed in the last 30 years and some estimate that 80 percent of the orangutan’s habitat has been destroyed in just the last 20 years. Illegal logging, slash-and-burn agriculture, gold mining, and forest fires threaten their survival. Only about five percent of the surviving orangutans live in protected areas, such as nature reserves and national parks, which means this species might be gone from the wild in 10 years.

The current number of wild orangutans is estimated at fewer than 60,000 animals on both Sumatra and Borneo combined. There were twice as many just 10 years ago.

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Crossbow Communications specializes in international marketing, issue management and public affairs. Indonesia is one of our regions of expertise. Our President and founder is the author of the Language and Travel Guide to Indonesia. Please contact Gary Chandler at gary@crossbow1.com. Visit Indonesia.

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Yogyakarta Artists Speak Out For Orangutans

Palm Oil Plantations Killing Orangutans

The Center for Orangutan Protection (COP), an NGO advocating for an end to cruelty against orangutans, has urged the Indonesian government to take tough measures against the perpetrators of crimes against orangutans in tropical forests in Kalimantan and Sumatra.

orangutan conservation

The COP further says it will hold a string of public campaigns to push the government into realizing its commitment to stopping crimes against orangutans.

“All this time, the perpetrators of crimes against orangutans have been sentenced to only between eight and 10 months,” COP Java and Sumatra area manager Daniek Hendarto told The Jakarta Post on Saturday.

He said without tough legal measures, all efforts conducted by NGOs and other civil society groups to conserve orangutans would be in vain. Plantation owners suspected of having masterminded cruel acts against orangutans have never been prosecuted, he claimed.

“Law enforcement is the key to orangutan conservation. In Indonesia, however, there is a common perception that law can be enforced only if there is strong pressure from the public. Therefore, the COP will continue to gather public support to save orangutans,” said Daniek.

Orangutan conservation and ecotourism

Among public campaigns conducted by the COP is an art exhibition entitled “Art for Orangutan” jointly held with the Gigi Nyala Community at the Jogja National Museum in Yogyakarta from Jan. 31 to Feb. 3. The exhibition involves 90 Yogyakarta artists who have created various art works, such as paintings and statues, which are all themed on orangutans.

“Orangutans are on the brink of extinction and the major causes are forest conversion into plantations and mines, excessive hunting and the illegal trade in orangutans,” said Daniek.

International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) data reveals that the number of Sumatran orangutans amounted to only 6,500 in 2008. Meanwhile according to World Wildlife Fund (WWF) data, there were only 55,000 Kalimantan orangutans in 2005.

“The figures are likely to be far lower now due to ongoing conversion of forests, the natural habitat of orangutans,” said Daniek.

He said in 2011, the COP rescued 1,200 baby orangutans but for each baby orangutan rescued, between two and 10 orangutans were killed.

dead orangutan captured orangutansabused orangutan

Orangutan in snare
Orangutan in snare. It chewed it’s hand off trying to escape.
orangutans killed
This female orangutan and its baby are hung for the world to see on a palm oil plantation in West Kalimantan.

COP monitoring activities have revealed that the illegal trade in orangutans has continued to occur. In their natural habitat in Sumatra or Kalimantan, an orangutan sells for Rp 2.5 million (US$196) each but the price can increase to Rp 100 million in Java.

Indonesia orangutan conservation

“Most of their buyers are rich people or those who hold an important position in which they should be aware that raising an orangutan is prohibited by the Conservation and Natural Resources Law,” said Daniek.

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Crossbow Communications specializes in international marketing, issue management and public affairs. Indonesia is one of our regions of expertise. Our President and founder is the author of the Language and Travel Guide to Indonesia. Please contact Gary Chandler at gary@crossbow1.com. Visit Indonesia.

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Ecotourism Can Help Save Indonesia’s Forests

Indonesia’s Endangered Species Worth Saving

Indonesian indigenous communities launched a project this week to encourage foreign tourism in ancestral forests to slow the advance of logging operations and palm oil plantations.

The GreenIndonesia non-governmental organization, working with six indigenous groups, said the plan would ease poverty, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and diversify from traditional forest-based incomes such as weaving.

Indonesia orangutan conservation

“We’re trying to draw tourists to areas of Indonesia where communities are working to preserve their land and show how they are helping to prevent forests from being lost,” GreenIndonesia head Chandra Kirana said.

The project was inspired by similar initiatives in the Amazon region of South America, she said at a tourism exhibition in Oslo.

Komodo island

Raymundus Remang, head of the Sui Utuk community in West Kalimantan, said the villagers, who have preserved 9,000 hectares of forest from illegal logging and palm oil expansion, would welcome more visitors. Tourists could stay in the community’s vast longhouse, where about 250 people live.

“Everyone in the village has the same feeling of having to protect the forest because it comes from our ancestors,” he said.

Sumatra tiger conservation

Indonesia has lost vast tracts of forests in recent years, threatening the livelihoods of forest peoples as well as endangered creatures such as orangutans and Sumatran tigers.

Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya Bakar endorsed the ecotourism project and said the government of President Joko Widodo was working on a decree recognizing the rights of indigenous groups.

Mt. Bromo Java Indonesia

GreenIndonesia’s Kirana said she hoped the initiative would draw hundreds, perhaps thousands, of tourists to Indonesia.

Bunaken scuba diving Indonesia

Indonesia Travel News via http://thejakartaglobe.beritasatu.com/news/green-tourism-seen-answer-protect-indonesias-forests/

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Crossbow Communications specializes in international marketing, issue management and public affairs. Indonesia is one of our regions of expertise. Our President and founder is the author of the Language and Travel Guide to Indonesia. Please contact Gary Chandler at gary@crossbow1.com. Visit Indonesia.

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Deforestation Killing Ecotourism In Indonesia

Biodiversity A Tourism Asset

A new study says Indonesia’s deforestation rate is the world’s highest, increasing greenhouse gas emissions and threatening animals and livelihoods. A grim new study says Indonesia’s forests are disappearing so rapidly that the country has now replaced Brazil as the world’s No. 1 deforester.

Sumatra tiger conservation

The Nature Climate Change journal reported that Indonesia lost 840,000 hectares of natural forest in 2012, compared with 460,000 hectares in Brazil, even though Indonesia’s forest is a quarter of the size of the Amazon rainforest. Potentially making matters worse, the rate of loss in Indonesia is twice the rate reported by the government.

According to Greenpeace, the destruction of forests is being driven by the expansion of the palm oil and pulp and paper industries. The deforestation is increasing greenhouse gas emissions, pushing animals such as Sumatran tigers to the brink of extinction and wrecking the livelihoods of local communities that depend on natural resources such as fishing.

orangutan Camp Leakey

The study warned that developers are increasingly turning to Indonesia’s carbon-rich wetlands. Tropical forest advocate Glenn Hurowitz, a managing director at Climate Advisers, said the latter finding is consistent with what he’s observed during his visits to Indonesia.

Indonesia orangutan conservation

“Tropical rain forests are one of the world’s richest carbon sinks, and peatlands are many times more powerful carbon sinks,” Hurowitz told Scientific American. “It’s the height of insanity, desperation or greed to destroy a peatland rainforest.”

Sumatra tiger conservation

Source: http://www.thestar.com/news/world/2014/07/26/indonesia_land_of_the_disappearing_trees.html

Indonesia tourism marketing and public relations firm

Crossbow Communications specializes in international marketing, issue management and public affairs. Indonesia is one of our regions of expertise. Our President and founder is the author of the Language and Travel Guide to Indonesia. Please contact Gary Chandler at gary@crossbow1.com. Visit Indonesia.

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Indonesia’s Top Religious Leader Demands Wildlife Protection

Wildlife Conservation Not A Priority In Indonesia

Indonesia’s top Islamic clerical body has issued a religious fatwa against the illegal hunting and trade of endangered species in the country, which the WWF hailed on Wednesday as the world’s first. The fatwa by the Indonesian Ulema Council declares such activities “unethical, immoral and sinful”, council official Asrorun Ni’am Sholeh told AFP.

“All activities resulting in wildlife extinction without justifiable religious grounds or legal provisions are haram (forbidden). These include illegal hunting and trading of endangered animals,” said Sholeh, secretary of the council’s commission on fatwas.

Sumatra tiger conservation

“Whoever takes away a life, kills a generation. This is not restricted to humans, but also includes God’s other living creatures, especially if they die in vain.”

The country of 250 million people is the world’s most populous Muslim nation, but it remained unclear whether the fatwa would have any practical impact. Indonesia’s vast and unique array of wildlife is under increasing pressure from development, logging and agricultural expansion.

The government does not typically react to fatwas by implementing specific policy changes. However, a Forestry Ministry official who asked to remain anonymous told AFP the ministry and the religious council would make a joint announcement regarding the fatwa on March 12, without elaborating on its content.

Indonesia orangutan conservation

The WWF called the fatwa the first of its kind in the world, and said the use of religion for wildlife protection “is a positive step forward.”

”It provides a spiritual aspect and raises moral awareness which will help us in our work to protect and save the remaining wildlife in the country such as the critically endangered tigers and rhinos,” WWF Indonesia communications director Nyoman Iswara Yoga said.

The fatwa was the result of months of dialogue between government officials, conservationists and other stakeholders, said Sholeh, the fatwa commission official.

Acknowledging it was not legally binding, Sholeh said in English: “It’s a divine binding.”He said the fatwa was effective from January 22. It was only made public late Tuesday.

Indonesia forest conservation

The fatwa urges the government to effectively monitor ecological protection, review permits issued to companies accused of harming the environment, and bring illegal loggers and wildlife traffickers to justice.

The clearing, often illegally, of Indonesia’s once-rich forests for timber extraction or to make way for oil palm or other plantations poses a severe threat to critically endangered species such as the Sumatran tiger, orangutan, and Sumatran elephant. Poachers also target wild elephants for their ivory tusks, for use in traditional Chinese medicines

Orangutan conservation Borneo

 

Under Indonesian law, trafficking in protected animals can result in a maximum of five years in jail and 100 million rupiah ($8,700) fine.

Source: http://muslimvillage.com/2014/03/06/50898/ulama-of-indonesia-issue-fatwa-to-protect-wildlife/

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Crossbow Communications specializes in international marketing, issue management and public affairs. Indonesia is one of our regions of expertise. Our President and founder is the author of the Language and Travel Guide to Indonesia. Please contact Gary Chandler at gary@crossbow1.com. Visit Indonesia.

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Orangutans Fighting For Survival

Palm Oil Plantations Destroying Indonesia’s Biodiversity

Even in the first light of dawn in the Tripa swamp forest of Sumatra it is clear that something is terribly wrong. Where there should be lush foliage stretching away towards the horizon, there are only the skeletons of trees. Smoke drifts across a scene of devastation.

Orangutan conservation Borneo

Tripa is part of the Leuser Ecosystem, one of the world’s most ecologically important rainforests and once home to its densest population of Sumatran orangutans.

As recently as 1990, there were 60,000 hectares of swamp forest in Tripa: now just 10,000 remain, the rest grubbed up to make way for palm oil plantations servicing the needs of some of the world’s biggest brands. Over the same period, the population of 2,000 orangutans has dwindled to just 200.

In the face of international protests, Indonesia banned any fresh felling of forests two years ago, but battles continue in the courts over existing plantation concessions. Here, on the edge of one of the remaining stands of forest, it is clear that the destruction is continuing. Deep trenches have been driven through the peat, draining away the water, killing the trees, which have been burnt and bulldozed. The smell of wood smoke is everywhere. But of the orangutans who once lived here, there is not a trace.

orangutan and tiger habitat Sumatra

This is the tough physical landscape in which environmental campaigners fighting to save the last of the orangutans are taking on the plantation companies, trying to keep track of what is happening on the ground so that they can intervene to rescue apes stranded by the destruction.

But physically entering the plantations is dangerous and often impractical; where the water has not been drained away, the ground is a swamp, inhabited by crocodiles. Where canals have been cut to drain away the water, the dried peat is thick and crumbly and it is easy to sink up to the knees. Walking even short distances away from the roads is physically draining and the network of wide canals has to be bridged with logs. The plantations do not welcome visitors and the Observer had to evade security guards to gain entrance.

Indonesia orangutan conservation

To overcome these problems, campaigners have turned to a technology that has become controversial for its military usage but that in this case could help to save the orangutans and their forest: drones.

Graham Usher, from the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme, produces a large flight case and starts to unpack his prized possession, a polystyrene Raptor aircraft with a two-metre wingspan and cameras facing forward and down.

The £2,000 drone can fly for more than half an hour over a range of 30-40km, controlled by a computer, recording the extent of the destruction of the forest.

“The main use of it is to get real time data on forest loss and confirm what’s going on with fires,” he says.

Sumatra tiger conservation

They can also use the drone to track animals that have been fitted with radio collars. Graham opens his computer and clicks on a video. Immediately, the screen fills with an aerial view of forest, then a cleared patch of land and then new plantation as the drone passes overhead. “We are getting very powerful images of what is going on in the field,” he says.

The footage is helping them to establish where new burning is taking place and which plantations are potentially breaking the law. Areas of forest where the peat is deeper than three metres should be protected – the peat is a carbon trap – but in practice many plantations do not measure the depth.

“They shouldn’t be developing it but the power of commerce and capital subverts all legislation in this country. There is no law enforcement or rule of law,” says Usher.

The battle to save the orangutans is not helped by the readiness of multinational corporations to use palm oil from unverified sources. Hundreds of products on UK supermarket shelves are made with palm oil or its derivatives sourced from plantations on land that was once home to Sumatran orangutans.

Indonesia forest conservation

Environmental campaigners say that the complex nature of the palm oil supply chain makes it uniquely difficult for companies to ensure that the oil they use has been produced ethically and sustainably.

“One of the big issues is that we simply don’t know where the palm oil used in products on UK supermarket shelves comes from. It may well be that it came from Tripa,” says Usher.

In October, the Rainforest Foundation UK singled out Superdrug and Procter and Gamble (particularly its Head and Shoulders, Pantene and Herbal Essences hair products) for criticism over the use of unsustainable palm oil. A traffic light system produced using the companies’ responses to questions from the Ethical Consumer group also placed Imperial Leather, Original Source and Estée Lauder hair products in the red-light category.

A separate report by Greenpeace, also issued in October into Sumatran palm oil production, accused Procter and Gamble and Mondelez International (formerly Kraft) of using “dirty” palm oil. The group called on the brands to recognize the environmental cost of “irresponsible palm oil production”. According to the Rainforest Foundation’s executive director, Simon Counsell, part of the problem is that even companies that do sign up to ethical schemes, such as the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, cannot be certain that all the oil they receive is ethically produced because of the way oil from different plantations is mixed at processing plants.

Sumatra tiger conservation

“The smaller companies sell to bigger companies and it all gets mixed. Even those companies making some effort cannot be certain that what they are getting is what they have paid for,” he said.

Driving out of Tripa, the whole area appears to have been given over to palm oil plantations; some long-established, 20-25 foot tall trees in regimented rows, others recently planted. Every now and again there is a digger, driving a new road into what little forest remains, the first stage of the process that will end with the forest burned and gone and replaced with young oil palms.

There is a steady flow of lorries loaded with palm fruits, heading for the processing plant not far from the town of Meulaboh. From there, tankers take the oil to the city of Medan for shipping onwards.

It is outside Medan that the orangutan victims of clearances are taken to recover, at the SOCP’s quarantine centre. These are the animals rescued from isolated stands of forest or from captivity. Those that can be will eventually be released back into another part of the island.

Anto, a local orangutan expert, says the spread of the plantations is fragmenting the remaining forest and isolating the orangutans.

“Then people are poaching the orangutans because it is easy to catch them,” he says. “People isolate them in a tree and then they cut the tree or they make the orangutan so afraid that it climbs down and is caught. After that they can kill it and sometimes eat it. Or they can trade it.”

This is what happened to Gokong Puntung and his mother. The one-year-old ape – now recovering with the help of SOCP – was rescued from Sidojadi village in February. He had been captured a month earlier in the Tripa forest.

A group of fishermen spotted Gokong Puntung and his mother trapped in a single tree and unable to reach the rest of the forest without coming down. The men apparently decided to try to grab the baby in the hope of selling it. One climbed the tree, forcing the mother to fall to the ground, where another man set about her and beat her with a length of timber. In the confusion, mother and baby became separated and the fishermen were able to get away. They sold the animal for less than £6 to a plantation worker.

“We got information from people who heard an orangutan crying in one house,” says SOCP vet Yenny Saraswati. “They went in the house and found the baby orangutan in a chicken cage. The owner said he had bought it from people who had taken it from the plantation.”

It was a very unusual case: more often, the mother is killed.

“They are very good mothers – better than humans,” she says. “A lot of human mothers don’t care for their babies, but I have never seen an orangutan leave its baby. They always hug them and don’t let them cry.”

That’s why poachers tend to kill the mothers, says Anto. “They hit it with sticks. One person uses a forked stick to hold its head and the others hit it and beat it to death. But the young orangutans they sell.”

The effect on Tripa’s orangutans has been disastrous. Cut off from the population on the rest of the island, they teeter on the brink of viability; experts say they really need a population of about 250 to survive long term and, because orangutans produce offspring only once every six or seven years, it takes a long time to replenish a depleted population.

Those that remain in the forest face other dangers. Some die when the forest is burned, others starve to death as their food supply is destroyed.

If the orangutans did not already have it tough, there may yet be worse to come: gold has been found in Aceh’s remaining forests and mining is starting.

“If there is no government effort to protect the remaining area, we will never know the orangutans here again,” says Anto.

“If this continues they will be gone within 10 years.”

In response to the criticism over its use of unsustainable palm oil, Superdrug said it “is aware of the complex issues surrounding palm oil and its derivatives, which are currently used in some of its own-brand products, and is committed to working with its suppliers to use sustainable alternatives when they become widely available.”

Estée Lauder Companies, which makes Aveda hair products, said: “We share the concern about the potential environmental effects of palm oil plantations, including deforestation and the destruction of biodiversity and habitats.”

The statement said that its palm oil (made from the pulped fruit) came from sustainable sources. But the company said the majority of its brands used palm kernel oil (from the crushed palm fruit kernels) and that it was working to develop sustainable supplies.

“We are committed to acting responsibly and will continue to work with our suppliers to find the best ways to encourage and support the development of sustainable palm kernel oil sources.”

PZ Cussons, which makes Original Source and Imperial Leather products, along with the Sanctuary SPA range, said it was committed to using raw materials from sustainable and environmentally friendly sources wherever possible.

The company said it had “embarked on a sustainability journey” and was working with other producers to gain a better understanding of the supply chain and “to promote the growth and use of sustainable oil palm products”. Mondelez International (formerly Kraft) said it wanted to eliminate unethical plantations from its supply chain by 2020.

“We fully share concerns about the environmental impacts of palm oil production, including deforestation. As a final buyer, engaging our supply chain is the most meaningful action we can take to ensure palm oil is grown sustainably,” said a spokesman.

“Palm oil should be produced on legally held land, protecting tropical forests and peat land, respecting human rights, including land rights, and without forced or child labour.

“We expect palm oil suppliers to provide us transparency on the proportion of their supplies traceable to plantations meeting these principles by the end of 2013 and to eliminate supplies that do not meet these criteria by 2020.”

Procter & Gamble, which makes Head and Shoulders, Herbal Essences and Pantene products, said it was “strongly opposed to irresponsible deforestation practices and our position on the sustainable sourcing of palm oil is consistent with our corporate sustainability principles and guidelines.

“We are committed to the sustainable sourcing of palm oil and have set a public target that, by 2015, we will only purchase palm oil from sources where sustainable and responsible production has been confirmed.”

Orangutans are facing extinction as their habitats are becoming fragmented and agricultural production expands.

Populations of orangutans have been broken up into groups and this is causing a problem for the survival of the species.

The WWF estimates that a century ago there were more than 230,000 orangutans living in the wild, now they think there are only 41,000 in Borneo and 7,500 in Sumatra. Others put the figures at 54,000 in Borneo and 6,600 in Sumatra.

Some conservationists predict that orangutans could disappear in as little as 20 to 30 years, others think it could happen in a few hundred years.

Orangutans share 96.4% of their genes with humans.

Source: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/dec/15/orangutans-fight-for-survival

Indonesia tourism marketing and public relations firm

Crossbow Communications specializes in international marketing, issue management and public affairs. Indonesia is one of our regions of expertise. Our President and founder is the author of the Language and Travel Guide to Indonesia. Please contact Gary Chandler at gary@crossbow1.com. Visit Indonesia.

Language and Travel Guide To Indonesia

Can Ecotourism Save The Orangutan & Sumatran Tiger

Indonesia’s Endangered Species

‘We were in Indonesia‘s rainforest for fifteen hours and spent eleven of those waist-deep in a swamp looking at orangutans’. Trekking through the swamps and rainforests of Kalimantan may not be everyone’s idea of a fun and relaxing holiday, but to an increasing number of ecotourists there is no better way to spend a couple of weeks.

After speaking with a group of ecotourists, recently returned from Tanjung Puting National Park in Central Kalimantan, their motivations for going became clear. They went in search of adventure, excitement and, most of all, orangutans. Daily treks through Tanjung Puting, in search of wild orangutans, and active involvement in data collection and habitat surveys, turned the ecotourists into willing volunteers.

Indonesia orangutan conservation

Babies

The treks were long and arduous, but the group remained determined. Some did not even get to see any wild orangutans, yet still they trekked for hours in search of them. Others saw many. Margaret, an ecotourist from Western Australia, said that her group found one orangutan with an infant within an hour of going into the jungle. ‘We were very lucky. We stood for four hours under two trees, watching them eating the fruit. It was great to see. We also took very detailed notes on the habitat and the orangutan’, she said.

The group also came into close contact with the rehabilitant orangutans at the Ministry of Forestry’s (MoF) feeding station. Although not officially permitted, holding the rehabilitant orangutans was the highlight of the trip for most of the ecotourists.

Australian ecotourist Terry likened the experience to nursing a human child. ‘We ended up carrying the babies around. They just run up and hug you and want to be carried’, he said. For Judith the experience was more profound: ‘I cried when I got to hold them. To me it was such an honour to accomplish one of my goals.’

Birutie Galdikas Camp Leakey Indonesia

Lesson

Canadian anthropologist Dr Birute Galdikas oversees the non-government Tanjung Puting tours. For her, ecotourism is not just about cuddling baby orangutans. She ensures there is a strong emphasis on raising awareness about the plight of the critically endangered orangutan. She does this by involving the ecotourists in the collection of data, and by arranging lectures and trips to see local Dayak villages and areas of deforestation. This last is a sobering lesson.

 

The deforestation they saw astounded all the ecotourists. ‘Oh, the destruction! We went up to the gold mine, just outside Tanjung Puting, and that was so important to see because there was so much destruction there’, said Australian ecotourist, Ros. ‘The river, the logging, the records we kept, all those things were reinforcing all the time about the habitat destruction and the invasion of western civilisation’.

Others began to see the futility of efforts to save the orangutan if their habitat was continuing to be destroyed. ‘People are working to rehabilitate them, but the government and companies are chopping the trees down’, said Gordon, another ecotourist from Western Australia. Gordon was involved in an orangutan rescue during his stay at Tanjung Puting. ‘It’s illegal to log in the forest where we were, but you see the rafts full of logs every day. Yes, they all want to save the orangutan’, Gordon went on, ‘but even as we left in January the papers were saying Indonesia is going to increase its export of timber to help its balance of payments. We went two thirds of the way across Kalimantan to save four orangutans and put them back into Camp Leakey. But at the other end they are chopping the trees down’.

Pay for itself

Ecotourists’ desire to see orangutans in the wild have not been lost on the Indonesian government. Nor has the possibility that ecotourism offers as a conservation tool that, theoretically at least, pays for itself. Andi Mappisammeng, Director General of Tourism, says: ‘Ecotourism can be a great ally of conservation efforts. It can encourage love of nature as more people seek solitude with nature. It can also provide a self-financing mechanism for the conservation of the natural heritage through proper management and ecological control.’

TOPSHOTS-INDONESIA-ENVIRONMENT-CONSERVATION-SPECIES-ORANGUTAN

Echoing such sentiments, the government has resolved to establish more orangutan ecotourism centres in Kalimantan. At present, Tanjung Puting is the only orangutan centre open to ecotourism. But there are plans for ecotourism centres at Sungai Wain and at Kutai National Park in East Kalimantan.

The dilemma for ecotourism planners in Indonesia, as anywhere, is to ensure that they achieve a balance of economic, social and ecological control. To date, however, a lack of political will and commitment to achieving genuine sustainable development has flawed the government’s conservation record.

Priority

Economic and political concerns take priority over ecological ones. How strong really is the government’s desire to establish an enterprise that is truly sustainable? Indonesia’s forests are among the nation’s most valuable resources, second only to oil. Business people both overseas and within Indonesia constantly lobby the government to win the right to exploit them.

Some of the wealthiest people in the country have lucrative shares in logging concessions and timber processing companies. Most are closely connected with President Suharto – his children Siti Hardiyanti, Sigit Harjojudanto and Bambang Trihatmodjo, and other well-connected people such as Bob Hasan, Liem Sioe Liong, Sukanto Tanoto and Prajogo Pangestu.

The vast wealth and power that comes from this industry results in huge rewards offered in return for political favours that see certain companies and/ or individuals granted resource concessions over other bidders.

orangutan and tiger habitat Sumatra

Kalimantan

If we examine the situation of protected areas in Kalimantan we will see how economic and political interests are favoured over conservation values. The total land area of Kalimantan is 536,150 km2. Of this, 20,338 km2 of forest has been set aside for protection. In reality, however, logging and other forms of human encroachment continue to threaten the future of many of Kalimantan’s protected areas.

For example, in South Kalimantan 60% of conservation forests and 35% of protected forests have been grossly deforested. A case in point comes from the Pleihari Wildlife Reserve, which the MoF has converted into production forest for logging. This was the last remaining habitat of the barking deer.

Another example comes from the Bukit Baka/ Bukit Raya National Park. This ecologically rich stretch of rainforest was split down the middle by the logging company Kurina Kapaus Plywood. Then-Minister of Forestry, Hasrul Harahap, granted the logging concession.

Examples can also be found in the proposed and established orangutan ecotourism areas. In and around the 3,040 km2 of Tanjung Puting National Park, mining and logging companies and human settlements have destroyed many forested areas. In fact, although the official Tanjung Puting guidebook states that it remains substantially wild and natural, the Directorate General for Forest Protection and Nature (Phpa) has argued that pressures from transmigrants and oil, gas and gold mines on the park’s border have caused extensive deforestation. In 1989 the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (Iucn) listed Tanjung Puting National Park as a protected region in danger.

Indonesia forest conservation

Kutai

At Kutai National Park the deforestation is just as alarming. Although Kutai is only 200,000 hectares it is regarded as one of the most important parks in the world, particularly in terms of its biodiversity value. Kutai is under extreme pressure, however. Mining and logging interests are literally camped at its doorstep, and local and migrant communities continue to clear vast areas of forest for crops. Approximately 100,000 hectares of the park has already been deforested.

The Sungai Wain nature reserve in East Kalimantan, the 11,000 ha release site for rehabilitated orangutans from the MoF/PHPA Wanariset Reintroduction Centre, has been subject to similar pressures. The oil company Vico has cut many lines through the forest for seismic probes and has cleared a large area for use as a helipad. Communities in the surrounding areas also use the forest regularly for their subsistence needs.

Negotiations are currently in place to have Sungai Wain upgraded to national park status so that orangutan ecotourism may begin. As we have seen, however, national park status will not automatically ensure forest protection.

Enclosure

These examples highlight another major obstacle to the success of sustainable orangutan ecotourism. That is, the use of protected areas by local communities. Obviously, to ensure forest conservation, limits need to be placed upon all forms of human access and use of these areas. However, it is the manner in which governments enforce this forest protection that will ultimately determine the success of conservation efforts.

The traditional solution to ecological protection in Indonesia has been to enclose specified areas, in the hope of limiting human activity. Ironically, if the government were to succeed in adequately protecting the forest in this way, the results would be devastating for human communities dependent upon the forest for their survival.

More often, however, the government is not successful in completely enclosing protected areas. As a result, environmental protection is limited, because disenfranchised groups continue to use forest resources illegally and unsustainably. This has certainly been the case since the enclosure of Tanjung Puting, Sungai Wain and Kutai National Park.

Whether the forest exploitation is to meet subsistence needs or for short-term commercial gains, these illegal uses further deplete the habitat of the orangutan while, in the long term, adding to human poverty as forest resources decline.

Incentives

Incentives for local communities to protect and conserve the environment are vital if the Indonesian government is serious about the promotion of orangutan ecotourism. Genuine socio-economic incentives, control over the direction and size of the ecotourism development and control over the possible impacts would empower local communities making them willing actors rather than reluctant subjects.

Planned correctly, ecotourism can help conserve the orangutan and Sumatra’s tigers. This outcome depends on appropriate levels of management, a supportive political climate and commitment to achieving conservation and social participation at the local level.

Source: http://www.insideindonesia.org/weekly-articles/ecotourism-can-it-save-the-orangutans

Indonesia tourism marketing and public relations firm

Crossbow Communications specializes in international marketing, issue management and public affairs. Indonesia is one of our regions of expertise. Our President and founder is the author of the Language and Travel Guide to Indonesia. Please contact Gary Chandler at gary@crossbow1.com. Visit Indonesia.

Language and Travel Guide To Indonesia

Sumatra’s Endangered Species and Endangered Forests

Indonesia Deforestation Taking Toll On Ecotourism

Ecotourism in Indonesia is a rapidly changing industry. In only a few years, logging and agribusiness have cut Indonesia’s vast rainforest by half. The government has renewed a moratorium on deforestation but it may already be too late for the endangered animals – and for the people whose lives lie in ruin.

Sumatra tiger conservation

Our small plane had been flying low over Sumatra for three hours but all we had seen was an industrial landscape of palm and acacia trees stretching 30 miles in every direction. A haze of blue smoke from newly cleared land drifted eastward over giant plantations. Long drainage canals dug through equatorial swamps dissected the land.

The end is in sight for the great forests of Sumatra and Borneo and the animals and people who depend on them. Thirty years ago the world’s third- and sixth-largest islands were full of tigers, elephants, rhinos, orangutan and exotic birds and plants but in a frenzy of development they have been trashed in a single generation by global agribusiness and pulp and paper industries.

Their plantations supply Britain and the world with toilet paper, biofuels and vegetable oil to make everyday foods such as margarine, cream cheese and chocolate, but distraught scientists and environmental groups this week warn that one of the 21st century’s greatest ecological disasters is rapidly unfolding.

Birutie Galdikas Camp Leakey

Official figures show more than half of Indonesia’s rainforest, the third-largest swath in the world, has been felled in a few years and permission has been granted to convert up to 70% of what remains into palm or acacia plantations. The government last week renewed a moratorium on the felling of rainforest, but nearly a million hectares are still being cut each year and the last pristine areas, in provinces such as Ache and Papua, are now prime targets for giant logging, palm and mining companies.

The toll on wildlife across an area nearly the size of Europe is vast, say scientists who warn that many of Indonesia’s species could be extinct in the wild within 20-30 years. Orangutan numbers are in precipitous decline, only 250-400 tigers remain and fewer than 100 rhino are left in the forests, said the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Indonesia forest conservation

Millions of hectares are nominally protected, but the forest is fragmented, national parks are surrounded by plantations, illegal loggers work with impunity and corruption is rife in government. “This is the fastest, most comprehensive transformation of an entire landscape that has ever taken place anywhere in the world including the Amazon. If it continues at this rate all that will be left in 20 years is a few fragmented areas of natural forest surrounded by huge manmade plantations. There will be increased floods, fires and droughts but no animals,” said Yuyun Indradi, political forest campaigner with Greenpeace south-east Asia in Jakarta.

Last night the WWF’s chief Asian tiger expert pleaded with the Indonesian government and the world to stop the growth of palm oil plantations. “Forest conversion is massive. We urgently need stronger commitment from the government and massive support from the people. We cannot tolerate any further conversion of natural forests,” said Sunarto Sunarto in Jakarta.

Sumatra tiger conservation

Indonesia’s deforestation has been accompanied by rising violence, say watchdog groups. Last year, more than 600 major land conflicts were recorded in the palm plantations. Many turned violent as communities that had lost their traditional forest fought multinational companies and security forces. More than 5,000 human rights abuses were recorded, with 22 deaths and hundreds of injuries.

“The legacy of deforestation has been conflict, increased poverty, migration to the cities and the erosion of habitat for animals. As the forests come down, social conflicts are exploding everywhere,” said Abetnego Tarigan, director of Walhi, Indonesia’s largest environment group.

Scientists fear that the end of the forest could come quickly. Conflict-wracked Aceh, which bore the brunt of the tsunami in 2004, will lose more than half its trees if a new government plan to change the land use is pushed through. A single Canadian mining company is seeking to exploit 1.77m hectares for mining, logging and palm plantations.

Large areas of central Sumatra and Kalimantan are being felled as coal, copper and gold mining companies move in. Millions of hectares of forest in west Papua are expected to be converted to palm plantations.

Dani tribe Papua

“Papuans, some of the poorest citizens in Indonesia, are being utterly exploited in legally questionable oil palm land deals that provide huge financial opportunities for international investors at the expense of the people and forests of West Papua,” said Jago Wadley, a forest campaigner with the Environment Investigation Agency.

Despite a commitment last week from the government to extend a moratorium on deforestation for two years, Indonesia is still cutting down its forests faster than any other country. Loopholes in the law mean the moratorium only covers new licences and primary forests, and excludes key peatland areas and existing concessions which are tiger and elephant habitats. “No one seems able to stop the destruction,” said Greenpeace International’s forest spokesman, Phil Aikman.

The conflicts often arise when companies are granted dubious logging or plantation permissions that overlap with community-managed traditional forests and protected areas such as national parks.

orangutan and tiger habitat Sumatra

Nine villages have been in conflict with the giant paper company April, which has permission to convert, with others, 450,000 hectares of deep peat forests on the Kampar Peninsula in central Sumatra. Because the area contains as much as 1.5bn tonnes of carbon, it has global importance in the fight against climate change.

“We would die for this [forest] if necessary. This is a matter of life and death. The forest is our life. We depend on it when we want to build our houses or boats. We protect it. The permits were handed out illegally, but now we have no option but to work for the companies or hire ourselves out for pitiful wages,” said one village leader from Teluk Meranti who feared to give his name.

They accuse corrupt local officials of illegally grabbing their land. April, which strongly denies involvement in corruption, last week announced plans to work with London-based Flora and Fauna International to restore 20,000 hectares of degraded forest land.

Fifty miles away, near the town of Rengit, villagers watched in horror last year when their community forest was burned down – they suspect by people in the pay of a large palm oil company. “Life is terrible now. We are ruined. We used to get resin, wood, timber, fuel from the forest. Now we have no option but to work for the palm oil company. The company beat us. The fire was deliberate. This forest was everything for us. We used it as our supermarket, building store, chemist shop and fuel supplier for generations of people. Now we must put plastic on our roofs,” said one man from the village of Bayesjaya who also asked not to be named.

Mursyi Ali, from the village of Kuala Cenaku in the province of Riau, has spent 10 years fighting oil plantation companies which were awarded a giant concession. “Maybe 35,000 people have been impacted by their plantations. Everyone is very upset. People have died in protests. I have not accepted defeat yet. These conflicts are going on everywhere. Before the companies came we had a lot of natural resources, like honey, rattan, fish, shrimps and wood,” he said.

“We had all we wanted. That all went when the companies came. Everything that we depended on went. Deforestation has led to pollution and health problems. We are all poorer now. I blame the companies and the government, but most of all the government,” he continued. He pleaded with the company: “Please resolve this problem and give us back the 4,100 hectares of land. We would die for this if necessary. This is a life or death,” he says.

Indonesia orangutan conservation

Greenpeace and other groups accuse the giant pulp and palm companies of trashing tens of thousands of hectares of rainforest a year but the companies respond that they are the forest defenders and without them the ecological devastation would be worse. “There has been a rampant escalation of the denuding of the landscape but it is mostly by migrant labour and palm oil growers. Poverty and illegal logging along with migrant labour have caused the deforestation,” said April’s spokesman, David Goodwin.

“What April does is not deforestation. In establishing acacia plantations in already-disturbed forest areas, it is contributing strongly to reforestation. Last year April planted more than 100 million trees. Deforestation happens because of highly organised illegal logging, slash-and-burn practices by migrant labour, unregulated timber operations. There has been a explosion of palm oil concessions.”

The company would not reveal how much rainforest it and its suppliers fell each year but internal papers seen by the Observer show that it planned to deforest 60,000 hectares of rainforest in 2012 but postponed this pending the moratorium. It admits that it has a concession of 20,000 hectares of forest that it has permission to fell and that it takes up to one-third of its timber from “mixed tropical hardwood” for its giant pulp and paper mill near Penabaru in Riau.

There are some signs of hope. The heat is now on other large palm oil and paper companies after Asia Pulp and Paper (APP), one of the world’s largest such companies, was persuaded this year by international and local Indonesian groups to end all rainforest deforestation and to rely solely on its plantations for its wood.

The company, which admits to having felled hundreds of thousands of acres of Sumatran forest in the last 20 years, had been embarrassed and financially hurt when other global firms including Adidas, Kraft, Mattel, Hasbro, Nestlé, Carrefour, Staples and Unilever dropped products made by APP that had been made with rainforest timber.

“We thought that if we adopted national laws to protect the forest that this would be enough. But it clearly was not. We realised something was not right and that we needed a much higher standard. So now we will stop the deforestation, whatever the cost. We are now convinced that the long-term benefits will be greater,” said Aida Greenbury, APP’s sustainability director. “Yes. We got it wrong. We could not have done worse.”

Indonesia Nature News via http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/may/26/sumatra-borneo-deforestation-tigers-palm-oil

Indonesia tourism marketing and public relations firm

Crossbow Communications specializes in international marketing, issue management and public affairs. Indonesia is one of our regions of expertise. Our President and founder is the author of the Language and Travel Guide to Indonesia. Please contact Gary Chandler at gary@crossbow1.com. Visit Indonesia.

Language and Travel Guide To Indonesia