We are writing requesting you to lend your voice to a positive campaign to improve the protection and management of the Leuser Ecosystem (KEL) in Aceh, Sumatra. By faxing the attached letter, to the Governor Aceh, and the provided contact list in attachment, you will greatly emphasise the full list of recipients. In addition we hope this action will gain media attention and act as a catalyst for garnering further support for this campaign.
The attached letter urges the Governor of Aceh to nominate KEL to become a new UNESCO World Heritage Site (WHS). You are likely aware of the recent Science article (Le Saout et al., 2013) in which KEL was identified as one of the world’s foremost exceptionally irreplaceable areas for the conservation of threatened species. KEL is already recognized as a protected area under National law in Indonesia, not least due to its critical ecological services to communities, agriculture and industry. A nomination for World Heritage status would build upon this national and international recognition.
You may also be aware of the controversial spatial plan proposed by Aceh Parliament which received a great deal of media attention this year. Recently we have learned that a ‘Pergub’ has also been drafted: a Governors Law on KEL that would ‘legalize’ widespread damage to the critically important lowlands of the NE in particular. This is currently being aggressively pursued in order to push it through before the end of the year, disregarding calls by experts to wait for environmental sensitivity analyses of these irreplaceable areas.
A united positive message from the international scientific community now would therefore be extremely timely. Receiving a large volume of signed faxes from scientists and leading international institutions will highlight the incompatibility of a nomination for World Heritage status with the current Aceh spatial plan and impress upon the Governor of Aceh the fact that our community is paying close attention to the management and protection of this area.
The letter is addressed to the Governor of Aceh and we also ask you to fax the letter to various overseas embassies and the donor/aid community in an attempt to highlight a better way forward for Aceh. The aim is to create a situation in which these organisations can support the Aceh Government with technical expertise and funding to create and implement a scientifically sound spatial plan. A viable plan will maintain the biodiversity and environmental function of Aceh’s forests (e.g., water resources, mitigation of natural disasters), whilst maximising the opportunities for long-term sustainable economic development for Aceh.
We appreciate the effort required to send these as fax, but emails alone risk being drowned out in a “wave of protest” as we also have 4 public email petitions supporting this WHS nomination in preparation. By sending this as fax is separates this action from the easy click petitions, and highlights the importance of this action. Therefore, if you are willing to put your name to the attached letter, we ask that you aim for the highest impact possible and fax it as soon as possible to the list below. The costs of faxing are only manageable shared between us all.
Please find list of contacts and fax numbers in an attachment at the bottom of this post.
If you cannot fax from your institution’s fax machine, here is a link with methods to fax from your computer if you have a landline attached, or by using online services*: http://www.wikihow.com/Fax-Without-Using-a-Fax-Machine
(*Note that you will need to sign up for a 30 day free trial to use some free online fax services, be sure to cancel if you don’t wish to pay a monthly subscription fee beyond that).
Please email a scan of your letter letting us know that you have taken this action to: firstname.lastname@example.org
We appreciate you sharing this email with your networks.
Ian Singleton1 and Rudi Putra2
1Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme
2Future for Nature Award Winner (2013)
sample letter from GRASP letter Aceh Governor
LONDON (CNN) — Africa’s western black rhino is now officially extinct according the latest review of animals and plants by the world’s largest conservation network.
The subspecies of the black rhino — which is classified as “critically endangered” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species — was last seen in western Africa in 2006.
The IUCN warns that other rhinos could follow saying Africa’s northern white rhino is “teetering on the brink of extinction” while Asia’s Javan rhino is “making its last stand” due to continued poaching and lack of conservation.
“In the case of the western black rhino and the northern white rhino the situation could have had very different results if the suggested conservation measures had been implemented,” Simon Stuart, chair of the IUCN species survival commission said in a statement.
“These measures must be strengthened now, specifically managing habitats in order to improve performance, preventing other rhinos from fading into extinction,” Stuart added.
The IUCN points to conservation efforts which have paid off for the southern white rhino subspecies which have seen populations rise from less than 100 at the end of the 19th century to an estimated wild population of 20,000 today.
Another success can be seen with the Przewalski’s Horse which was listed as “extinct in the wild” in 1996 but now, thanks to a captive breeding program, has an estimated population of 300.
The latest update to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species reviews more than 60,000 species, concluding that 25% of mammals on the list are at risk of extinction.
Many plants are also under threat, say the IUCN.
Populations of Chinese fir, a conifer which was once widespread throughout China and Vietnam, is being threatened by the expansion of intensive agriculture according to the IUCN.
A type of yew tree (taxus contorta) found in Asia which is used to produce Taxol (a chemotherapy drug) has been reclassified from “vulnerable” to “endangered” on the IUCN Red List, as has the Coco de Mer — a palm tree found in the Seychelles islands — which is at risk from fires and illegal harvesting of its kernels.
Recent studies of 79 tropical plants in the Indian Ocean archipelago revealed that more than three quarters of them were at risk of extinction.
In the oceans, the IUCN reports that five out of eight tuna species are now “threatened” or “near threatened,” while 26 recently-discovered amphibians have been added to the Red List including the “blessed poison frog” (classified as vulnerable) while the “summers’ poison frog” is endangered.
“This update offers both good and bad news on the status of many species around the world,” Jane Smart, director of IUCN’s global species program said in a statement.
“We have the knowledge that conservation works if executed in a timely manner, yet, without strong political will in combination with targeted efforts and resources, the wonders of nature and the services it provides can be lost forever.”
Please donate to bring a world-class photographer to Aceh to document threats to critically endangered species.
It has been widely reported in the media that the current Aceh administration is planning to open huge amounts of currently protected forest for commercial exploitation. Leading scientist are warning that opening these protected forest will increase natural disasters (ie. Landslide and flooding), human wildlife conflict with community and paved the way to extinction of Sumatra’s megafauna (Critically endangered Sumatran Rhino, Sumatran Tiger, Sumatran Orangutan and Sumatran Elephant).
We are writing to request Paul to join our communications team for the duration of 7-10 days to photograph and profile the activities currently taking place undocumented in Aceh. Key aspects would be seeking to capture human-wildlife conflict and “natural disaster” that are currently taking place. The key proposed outcome of Paul’s trip to Aceh is to secure the currently missing images that can send the story of this campaign further than it is currently reaching.
Obviously, capturing the images that portray this story are exceptionally difficult and largely based upon being at the right place at the right time. This is where the working relationship between Paul, us, and our local partners provide the highest likelihood of success. Prior to Paul’s arrival, two weeks of field survey will be conducted by localized teams of forest rangers, working with local community to indicate the locations where these powerful images which will accelerate the campaign can be captured.
Unfortunately, our organization is not currently in the financial position to fund the anticipated US$ 6,500 cost to bring Paul to the field to photograph what is taking place. However it is viewed as essential for the broader campaign to protect and restore Aceh threatened forest that Paul is able to join the team at this critical time. As of right now, we have field reports of broad scale flooding and landslide along the entire west coast of Aceh and numerous human wildlife conflict taking place in central highland and east coast. The sooner Paul can get here to capture the disaster and conflict the better. Paul’s images, as we have seen in the past internationalize local issues and this is essential for the work we are currently undertaking right now.
This project is anticipated to be utilized to raised the profile of the campaign to protect and restore Aceh threatened forest, securing the last habitat where Rhinos, Elephants, Tigers and Orangutans still live in one place. We thank you in advance for your generous support.
To donate, please go to this LINK
Operation Aceh – Wildlife Asia’s mission to save critical rainforest facing imminent threat of destruction
After conservationists seemingly won a small victory in 2012 to protect the Tripa peat forest in Aceh, a new, far more serious threat to Indonesia’s forests and wildlife has emerged.
The Indonesian Government appears poised to approve a proposal to free up 1.2 million hectares of protected virgin rainforest on Sumatra island for commercial exploitation.
Conversion of this primary rainforest could ultimately mean extinction for the last remaining populations of Sumatran orangutan, Sumatran rhino and elephant. The world renowned Leuser ecosystem is the only remaining forest to contain all of these species along with tigers, sunbears, gibbons, tapirs and leopards. It symbolises the enormous biodiversity teetering on a knife edge in Indonesia.
In a frightening development last week, Canadian mining company East Asia Minerals, said the plan to clear 1.2 million hectares was “positive news” for mining in the area.
An Indonesian forestry ministry spokesman says the government aims to approve the plan “in up to a month”.
In a strangely bold admission, East Asia Minerals explained how it is “working closely with Government officials in the country and has representatives on the ground in Aceh to obtain reclassification of the forestry zone from “protected forest” to a “production forest”.
Their statement suggests that they are effectively driving public policy, namely spatial planning, in Aceh.
It is imperative that spatial planning be based on sound scientific analysis of land suitability and environmental risks and it is outrageous to consider that such decisions could be driven by foreign companies with considerable financial incentive and complete disregard for the future wellbeing of local communities and a sustainable economy for Aceh.
Illegal logging and mining is already occurring in these concessions with devastating consequences for both the forest and the incredible wildlife it supports. The proposed changes to the spatial plan would also approve an extensive new network of roads, resulting in even further forest destruction and encroachment. In an area already prone to natural disasters, this is an incredibly dangerous decision and one which will invariably result in an increased loss of lives and huge economic losses to local communities.
Australian based conservation organisation, Wildlife Asia spokesperson, Clare Campbell said “Approval of the plan to free up this enormous area of forest for mining, paper and palm oil plantations is an environmental disaster of catastrophic proportions. Not only is this area the last chance for several species already in serious trouble but it also contains critical carbon sinks and forests that are essential for food security, regulating water flow and mitigating climate change. This will be devastating for the future of communities living in these areas as well as the broader region”.
Ms Campbell stated that “We have to stand strong against decisions that lack foresight. Wildlife Asia represents the wildlife, the people of Indonesia and the people of Australia. Forest destruction of this magnitude eventually impacts upon us all. We won’t compromise, the planet has been compromised enough. When does it stop?”
Wildlife Asia this week launched a campaign to raise funds to support local organisations in their mission to influence government decisions. Ms Campbell added “Campaigning at this level takes serious time and money and we need to pull in the heavyweights on this one. Once it’s gone, it’s gone…the future of the Sumatran orangutan, the Sumatran rhino and the people of Sumatra need the right decision to be made here. I urge all Australians to dig deep and assist us in any way possible”
Donations can be made here www.givenow.com.au/wildlifeasia
Wildlife Asia Director, Clare Campbell, is available for interviews and can be contacted on 0438 992 325
Orangutan Outreach has been partners with International Animal Rescue (IAR) since 2009. The orangutans of West Kalimantan (Indonesian Borneo) now have a safe haven at IAR’s Orangutan Rescue Center in Ketapang. There, they are cared for and rehabilitated by trained professionals until the day comes when they can be released into a safe forest or island sanctuary.
This is a public event and invitation open to everyone
please find media invite below
Aceh is currently preparing to open over 1.2 million hectares of protected forest for the development of mines, plantations, roads, logging and palm oil expansion. This devastating plan would reduce total forest cover of Aceh from 68% to 45% and see the destruction of Tripa and other areas of the protected Leuser Ecosystem driving Sumatran orangutan, elephants, tigers and rhinos to extinction.
Act now! This must be stopped.
Donate > http://www.sumatranorangutan.org
Act now! This is URGENT and it must be stopped.
MORE – http://www.sumatranorangutan.org
DONATE – http://www.sumatranorangutan.org
SIGN – http://www.avaaz.org/en/petition/Save_Sumatras_Rainforest/?cLRqweb
If there are enough signatures in the next 14 hours, Avaaz will share this petition with more of their 20 million members, this could be HUGE! but we have to act FAST.
Please sign, then share this petition everywhere, facebook, twitter, email and every other creative way you can think, this is a huge change to Save Aceh!
URGENT CALL FOR ACTION – 4 day “fax-a-thon” to save beyond 1.2 million hectares of forest in Aceh Province, Sumatra
Aceh is preparing to open over 1, 2 million hectares of protected forest to make way for mining, plantations, roads, logging and palm oil expansion. Its the equivalent of forest 17 times the size of Singapore, yet the Aceh government is currently fast-tracking new law for the spatial plan, and this new spatial plan will legitimize the disaster of destroying the last of Sumatra’s great forests, and laying the final blow to the Sumatran Rhinos, Elephants, Orangutans and Tigers once roaming Sumatran forest to become something only found in Zoos or history books.
The chairman of Aceh Parliament spatial planning committee, Tgk. Anwar recently told the Sydney Morning Herald that the proposed plan would reduce Aceh total forest cover from its existing coverage of 68% of Aceh total land area to merely 45%, representing the destruction of around 1,2 million hectare, including the entire Tripa Peat Swamp Swamp, major parts of Leuser Ecosystem which is also protected under National Spatial Planning Law 26/2007 juncto Government Regulation 26/2008, and areas within the UNESCO World Heritage Tropical Forests of Sumatra.
This planned destruction is the result of a ‘perfect storm’ of planning failures. Firstly, the end of the ‘Norway Moratorium’ protecting Primary Forest and Peat Swamp, secondly the cancellation of ‘Moratorium on logging’ initiated by former governor Irwandi.
Tgk. Anwar, in his interview with the Sydney Morning Herald on Jan 15, 2013 have stated “The nature of the logging moratorium is that its temporary, so it can be revoked anytime” – validating the destructive path Aceh government is going to take on its forest protection. The two events (end of Norway Moratorium and Moratorium on logging), combined with huge reduction in forest protection designation, meaning forest area previously protected for their natural ecological services, such as preventing landslides and mitigating floods, will now be opened for massive land clearing to make way for mining, plantations, roads, logging and palm oil expansion.
The academic advisor for Aceh Governor, Dr. Irfan, has stated in the Sydney Morning Herald on Jan 15, 2013 that with the new spatial plan, “there will be more areas given for the people”. Alarmingly, areas that are proposed for ‘community plantation and settlement’ are areas currently protected with the status of wildlife corridors. This means, community are being sacrificed and human-wildlife conflict will happen more frequently at escalating scale. At the same time, it also means that the iconic megfauna of Sumatra, including Tigers, Elephant, Rhinos and Orangutan will be pushed closer to extinction.
We are asking YOU, to voice this concern to the Governor of Aceh Zaini Abdullah and the Vice Governor of Aceh Muzakkir Manaf to reconsider pushing such destruction onto their province, and also to ask the donor representatives of the world, who have invested so much already to the protection of Aceh forest, to assist with the funding and technical support for the Aceh government to revisit and revise this potential disaster. European Union has expressed interest to assist Aceh to keep protecting its forest, let them know you care too!
Attached below is downloadable .pdf file that needs your personal or organizational signature, please print, sign and fax this document to these numbers:
Governor of Aceh: +62-651-7553048
Presidential Working Unit for Supervision and Control of Development: +62-21-2314147
Anti Corruption Commission: +62-21-5290 5592
Key International Embassy:
Embassy of Sweden : +62-21-5762691
Embassy of Norway : +62-21-5761537 or Fax: + 62-21-2965 0001
Embassy of Denmark : +62-21-5761535
Embassy of Finland : +62-21-5761631 or Fax: +62-361-287242
UNESCO: +33-1-45 68 55 70
We have seen and heard the comments from the good folks who have tried to fax but had problems. What we’ve found is two of the numbers to the Governors office remained problematic, but the one left worked each time.
The embassy fax numbers didn’t work everytime, but did sometimes. We’ve unable to explain why sometimes it does, and sometimes it doesn’t. But we do know the embassy team is one of our strongest allies at the moment, and every fax they get strenghtens their argument next time they meet with the Governernor that he needs to stop the spatial plan, and review the advisors he has to start the process again to ensure the protected areas get full protection!