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.

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

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/

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

Travel Book Benefits Indonesia’s Wildlife

Language and Travel Guide Defending Endangered Species

Indonesia straddles the Asian and Australian continental plates which generates abundant diversity among plant and animal life. This location also creates a stunning contrast of topographies and ecologies from east to west. You will find mist-shrouded volcanoes, glacier-topped mountains, unexplored rain forests, thousands of miles of beaches and endless coral reefs. This diverse land also supports an abundance of wildlife, which makes Indonesia a rewarding destination for photographers.

Indonesia orangutan conservation

Indonesia has just one percent of the world’s land area, but this country is home to more than 10 percent of all mammal species and 17 percent of all birds. Indonesia has more known mammal species than any other country in the world. It also has more endangered mammals than any other country, including the endangered orangutan, Javan rhinoceros, Komodo dragon, Sumatran tiger, and Sumatran elephant.

Sumatra tiger conservation

Indonesia is home to leopards, king cobras, hornbills, proboscis monkeys, sun bears, wild boars, and hundreds of other rare and fascinating creatures. Scientists are still discovering several new species each year, especially on Borneo and in the highlands of Papua.

The large mammals of western Indonesia arrived from the north when the islands were covered with dense jungle. They remain only where lowland forest is still intact. The greatest threat to their existence, other than poaching, is the clearing of forest for agriculture and intensive logging. 

orangutan and tiger habitat Sumatra

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

Indonesia forest 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. The conversion of pristine forest into pam oil plantations and timber estates is taking critical habitat away from all forms of biodiversity.

Way Kambas Sumatran elephants

Meanwhile, the forests where they live are being destroyed for timber, mining, and farming. Each animal needs up to 20 square miles to survive and forests are a vanishing resource in many regions.

Language and Travel Guide To Indonesia

Did you know that Sumatra is the only place in the world where you can find elephants, rhinos and tigers sharing similar habitat? Do you know that there are only about 300 tigers left on Sumatra? The tiger was exterminated from Bali and Java.

Gary R. Chandler

The author of this great travel resource is a defender of wildlife. All profits benefit wildlife conservation programs across Indonesia, including orangutans, tigers, Asian elephants and more. Please order your copy today and visit these endangered species tomorrow.

Order it from Amazon

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.

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