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
Reports state that a group of local fishermen spotted the adult female orangutan carrying a small male infant (less than 1 year old) isolated and trapped in a single tree. With no other trees nearby SOCP said, it was impossible for the adult ape and her baby to get away without descending to the ground near them.
According to a joint press release by SOCP: comprising PanEco Foundation (Switzerland), Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA) Aceh, and Yayasan Ekosistem Lestari (YEL) Medan, the fishermen decided to try and capture the infant to sell as a pet. SOCP explained:
First they had to cross a deep and wide drainage canal dug by the plantation company, then one of the men climbed the tree, pressuring and panicking the female orangutan so much that she eventually fell to the ground.
One of the men then beat the mother with timber and in the ensuing tussle she fled to a nearby tree, only then realizing that her infant was no longer with her. The fishermen were then able to smother the infant and steal him away from the site, with the mother only able to look forlornly on.
The group suggested that although the fishermen had no real desire to kill the mother, they saw an opportunity to obtain an infant and took advantage of it. “Fortunately for the mother”, they said, “she managed to escape with her life” before being badly beaten. Often “orangutan mothers are killed in such encounters,” the organization said.
The fishermen sold the infant orangutan for just IDR100,000 (USD10.40), to a local medical aide working for another nearby palm oil company, PT Socfindo. SOCP said it first heard about the infant shortly after he was captured on Jan. 26, but that staff had difficulty monitoring the pet as he was kept out of sight behind the house. After peering through a fence, SOCP spotted the animal being bathed and moved in to seize him.
SOCP veterinarian, drh. Ikhsani Surya Hidayat said that the infant orangutan was found in a very weak condition due to malnutrition and dehydration. Ikshani said, “We already fed him with enough milk and is likely to survive, but he is thin and also has a lot of intestinal worms that we have to treat as well.”
Dr. Ian Singleton of SOCP reported:
It is unusual for us to receive reports of the actual capture of a wild orangutan. Normally we only find out about them when they are spotted already at someone’s home. By confiscating illegal pet infants like this we are able to give them a second chance of a life in the wild.
Unfortunately for the mother said Singleton, her plight could be dire. While this case is “relatively unique” he said, because she also survived, “she may not survive for long.” He explained:
She is clearly hanging on in an area where the forests are still being cleared and most of her home range has probably already been destroyed.
As a result, he said, “her own prospects of survival may now actually be worse than those of her captured infant”.
For her baby, named Gokong Puntung by SOCP staff, the future appears brighter. For now, he is being held at the SOCP’s Orangutan Quarantine Centre near Medan, Sumatra. All being well SOCP said, he will eventually be returned to the wild at SOCP’s orangutan reintroduction center further north in Aceh.
It is illegal under Indonesian law to kill, capture, trade or keep an orangutan as a pet, an act that is punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a 100 million rupiah fine ($10,000 USD).
The Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme is a collaborative program involving the Swiss based PanEco Foundation (www.paneco.ch), Indonesia’s Yayasan Ecosistem Lestari (www.yelweb.org) and the Indonesian Ministry of Forestry’s Directorate General of Forest Protection and Nature Conservation (DitJen PHKA; www.dephut.go.id).
Sumatran orangutans are significantly at risk of extinction. Just last June, it was estimated that there were now only 200 orangutan left in the Rawa Tripa areas, a substantial drop in numbers compared to 1990, when almost 2,000 of the great apes were registered. Tripa is also part of the world renowned Leuser Ecosystem Conservation Area, in which more than 80% of the remaining Sumatran Orangutans, a critically endangered species, are barely hanging on.
The SOCP is involved in researching and monitoring wild Sumatran orangutan populations as well as raising awareness over the conservation of their remaining habitat. Wild orangutan populations have been decimated by illegal palm oil company deforestation.
- Pictures: Saving Sumatra’s Orangutans (news.nationalgeographic.com)
- 5 Biggest Environmental Stories of 2012 (endoftheicons.wordpress.com)
- Baby Orangutan Smiles for Cameras After Risky Birth (peoplepets.com)
- Leuser Ecosystem Under Serious Threat (endoftheicons.wordpress.com)
- Why are Orangutans Endangered (wanttoknowit.com)
- Extinction risk as Aceh opens forests for logging (endoftheicons.wordpress.com)
Presented by Volcomunity + V.Co-Logical in partnership with Sumatran Orangutan Society Filmed and Edited by Mark Samuels
Costa Mesa, CA. – November 7th, 2012 –Volcom announced today, the public premiere of the 15-minute, eco-themed documentary. It will be shown on Volcom Facebook on Thursday, November 8, 2012 at 10 AM PST and held onVolcom YouTube’s page for viewing after initial public Facebook debut.
The Last Orangutans documentary is presented by Volcomunity + Volcom V.Co-Logical in partnership with Sumatran Orangutan Society (SOS), and was filmed, edited and directed by Mark Samuels. This film stemmed from a product collaboration with Volcom V.Co-Logical Series and SOS for the Fall 2012 year, where 5% of sales from select Volcom products (by way of its 1% for the Planet membership) we’re given directly to the UK based SOS organization in efforts to support their conservation and educational work revolving around the critically endangered Sumatran Orangutan. This film was seen at select global film festivals during the 2012 summer film festival circuit where it gained nominations in best short film documentary and best director amongst other accolades.
In December of 2011 a small group traveled to the Indonesian island of Sumatra, to experience firsthand, the plight of the near extinct orangutans in one of their last strongholds.
“Amazingly, we found that a majority of Indonesians were uninformed about the severity of the problems and others, including government officials, lack any true resolve to confront the issues facing the orangutans and the forest itself,” said Mark Samuels, the film’s director.
The documentary compels the viewer to examine the causes of the rainforest destruction occurring in Indonesia and the effects an average citizen has on the destruction and the impending extinction facing the orangutans. Through interviews with government officials, villagers, and NGOs as well as breathtaking footage from Leuser National Park and the animals themselves, the film offers a compelling look into the problems and solutions that will decide the fate of the last orangutans.
For more information and the film’s trailer please view:http://www.volcomunity.com/2012/05/the-last-orangutang/
Behind the scenes of ‘The Last Orangutans’ filming Part Ihttp://www.volcomunity.com/2012/01/sumatra-orangutans-part-i/
Behind the scenes of ‘The Last Orangutans’ filming Part IIhttp://www.volcomunity.com/2012/01/sumatra-orangutans-part-ii/
About Volcom, Inc.
Volcom is a modern global lifestyle brand that embodies the creative spirit of youth culture. The company was founded on the principles of liberation, innovation and experimentation, and this is uniquely expressed in premium quality clothing, accessories, sunglasses, goggles and related products under the Volcom and Electric brand names. For more information, please visitwww.volcom.com . Volcom is a wholly owned subsidiary of PPR S.A., www.ppr.com.
About Sumatran Orangutan Society
The Sumatran Orangutan Society (SOS) is dedicated to protecting orangutans, their forests and their future. This is done through:
- Raising awareness about the importance of protecting orangutans and their habitat.
- Supporting grassroots projects that empower local people to become guardians of the rainforests, and restoring damaged orangutan habitat through tree planting programs.
- Campaigning on issues threatening the survival of orangutans in the wild.
For more information please visitwww.orangutans-sos.org
- Priceless or Worthless? The Fight for Earth’s Most Endangered Species (endoftheicons.wordpress.com)
- Vanishing species? (endoftheicons.wordpress.com)
- Ape Rescue | SBS Dateline (endoftheicons.wordpress.com)
- Ape escape: Orangutans saved as their tree homes are demolished (mirror.co.uk)
- Orangutan get chipped for protection | NBC News (endoftheicons.wordpress.com)
- Demand for palm oil, used in packaged food products, leaves orangutans at risk (endoftheicons.wordpress.com)
- Great apes, small numbers (esciencenews.com)
Vast swathes of land on the Indonesian island of Sumatra have been cleared for palm oil plantations and the native wildlife has been left with nowhere to go.
David Brill reports on the mission to rescue the orangutans and return them to the wild elsewhere.
Hundreds are being looked after by the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Program, which also rescues those kept as pets in appalling conditions.
But on a visit to a decimated forest, it’s clear the conservation team still has a battle on its hands to save these human-like creatures.
EXTRA – For more information on the groups featured in David’s story, follow the links under ‘resources’ on SBS Dateline Website http://www.sbs.com.au/dateline/story/about/id/601533/n/Ape-Rescue. Earth 4 Orangutans also has information on Dr Ian Singleton’s speaking tour of Australia.
To adopt baby orangutan please visit http://www.orangutan.org.au/adopt_orphan_orangutan/Chocolate
Please sign the petition at http://www.change.org/savetripa2
Could orangutans become the first great ape species to face extinction in the wild? Their habitat is under severe threat, slashed and burned by companies cultivating palm oil, found in thousands of products that line supermarket shelves. Environmentalists are surgically implanting radio chips into orangutans for research. NBC’s Ian Williams reports.
Orangutan refugee camps can be pretty desperate places, with no shortage of agonising stories of suffering and survival – but also of resilience and hope.
Dr Ian Singleton runs a hillside complex near the Indonesian island of Sumatra where 46 of our closest living relatives live.
Among the orangutans are those who have been seizes from animal traders whose parents have most likely been caught and shot.
You don’t get to keep them but your donation will help keep them alive.
Rock center NBC story: Demand for Palm Oil used in packaged food products leaves Orangutans at risk
By Ian Williams
NBC News Correspondent
One of the Sumatran orangutan’s richest habitats, an area of swampland containing the highest density of the red apes on the planet, is being illegally slashed and burned by palm oil companies to make way for palm oil plantations.
“If we can’t stop them here, then there really is no hope,” said Ian Singleton as we stood on the edge of what had once been pristine forest, home to hundreds of orangutans, but now reduced to a charred wilderness as far as the eye could see. As he spoke we could hear the distant sound of a chain saw.
Singleton runs the Sumatra Orangutan Conservation Programme, an organization at the forefront of a battle to save what remains of the forest and the apes.
There are fewer than 7,000 of the critically endangered Sumatran orangutans left in the wild, according to a 2008 survey completed by Singleton and other scientists. The largest number live in a vast area of swampland and lowland forest close to the northern tip of the Indonesian island of Sumatra.
“Orangutan paradise,” Singleton calls the area – but it’s a paradise under threat.
The key battleground for Singleton is the Tripa Peat Swamp Forest, much of which has already been converted to palm oil plantations. The relentless march of the palm oil business is the biggest threat facing the orangutans.
A cheap, edible oil, palm oil is found in almost half of all packaged supermarket products, from instant noodles, to cookies to ice cream, and Indonesia is the world’s biggest supplier.
“Look, look,” said Singleton, handing me a pair of field glasses. In the distance a large male orangutan moved gracefully across the canopy of trees. We would soon see three more.
There is something spell-binding about seeing an orangutan in its natural habitat, and for a while we were glued to that point, watching these high-wire masters at play. But excitement here was quickly tempered by the realization that the area of forest we were looking at was isolated and surrounded on three sides by plantations that were moving ever closer.
Singleton concluded that these apes had just about enough forest to survive – for now.
When he believes an orangutan is in danger, he said, he sends in a team to track and sedate it, transferring the animal to a sprawling rescue center he runs on the edge of the Sumatran city of Medan.
Singleton sometimes refers to the center as a “refugee camp.”
“These are the lucky few,” Singleton told me during a visit there. “They are effectively refugees from forests that no longer exist.”
And like in refugee camps across the world, there was no shortage of agonizing stories of suffering and survival, but also resilience and hope.
Among the 55 orangutans in Singleton’s care was a scrawny and bewildered 2-year-old named Chocolate, the newest arrival. Merely a toddler, Chocolate wrapped his arms and legs around Singleton, who lifted him carefully from a cot designed for a child.
“He’s a bit thin, but otherwise quite fit and feisty,” Singleton said. He believes the mother was probably shot.
“There’s no way a mother would allow a baby to be taken from her, not while she’s still alive – never in a million years,” said Singleton. Among orangutans, the bond between mother and child is one of the strongest in the animal kingdom, a child staying with its mom for as many as nine years.
Most orangutans arrive at the center as toddlers, many lacking even the basic confidence to climb trees. You’d have thought that came naturally to a great ape, but some youngsters will only scale the branches in the presence of a keeper, who acts as a surrogate mom.
That’s not a term Singleton likes. The aim of his organization is to build the animals’ skills and independence for an eventual return to the wild, though initially many are dependent on him and his staff.
He also introduced me to Leuser, a big male, probably more than 40 years old and blind.
“One day he went too near farmers at the edge of the forest and they took pot shots at him. They put 62 air rifle pellets into him, mostly around the head,“ Singleton said. Forty-eight are still there, and the X-ray resembles the speckled roof of a planetarium.
In the top corner of a nearby cage, 9-year-old Bahroeni was sitting inside a large tire, one of his legs dangling, encased in a cast. He, too, had been sold as a pet when he was a toddler and, as he grew up, the nylon rope that tied him to a fence was never removed.
Plantation owners and small holders frequently regard orangutans as pests, though there is profit to be had in illegally selling off the babies as pets.
“The law is very clear, but the enforcement is very weak,” Singleton said, tickling one of the toddlers, who reacts with child-like convulsions.
The center aims to return its refugees to the wild, in an undisturbed part of the forest, as soon as they are able to go.
As we spoke, a group of keepers from the rescue center carried on a stretcher an anaesthetised young male named Dito. They lay him out on an operating table in the medical center and after making a small insertion in his neck, they implanted a transmitter.
The transmitter will help Singleton monitor Dito’s movements, “so you know what they’re doing, where they’re going. That they are OK.”
On the Tripa frontline, Singleton and his team are now deploying a powerful new weapon: a drone, equipped with a small camera that will help them identify illegal forest clearing.
The area is supposed to be a protected forest, and using fire to clear the land as well as converting deep peat are illegal practices under Indonesian law.
Conservationists did have one recent victory, when one of the worst culprits, a company called Kallista Alam, had one of its operating permits revoked. That’s never happened before, since Indonesia has a terrible track record in enforcing its own environmental laws.
And Singleton says satellite imagery shows that burning has continued, even after Kallista Alam’s permit was revoked.
He is now urging criminal action against such companies and others involved in the illegal clearing, asking for their permits to be revoked, and the peat land to be restored.
For all the horrible destruction laid out before us in Tripa, Singleton remains optimistic, believing that the tide may now be turning in favor of Indonesia’s once lonely conservationists, and that the impunity with which the plantations destroyed the forest is at last being challenged.
Before leaving Sumatra, Singleton took me to an area where his refugees are being re-located. He told me that for him nothing can quite match the satisfaction of seeing the often bruised and terrified animals that turn up at his rescue center back in the wild.
“Now they have a second chance of spending 30 or 40 years in the wild, and of having four or five babies,” he told me as we tracked some recently released orangutans days later.
There was a sudden movement of red fur through the thick forest canopy above us.
“I get a real kick out of this,” Singleton said. “It’s as if they never left, and if we’d not been here they’d have died.”
Editor’s Note: Ian Williams’ full report, ‘At What Cost?’ airs Thursday, October 18 at 10pm/9c on NBC’s Rock Center with Brian Williams.
- Forest clearance a threat to orangutans (upi.com)
- Demand for palm oil leaves orangutans at risk (rockcenter.nbcnews.com)
- Plucky orangutan rescued from encroaching biofuel plantations (go.theregister.com)
- Sumatran orangutan rescued from palm oil plantations (nzherald.co.nz)
- Sumatran orangutan rescued in western Indonesia (goerie.com)
PRESS RELEASE: LARGE MALE ORANGUTAN RESCUED FROM THREATENED TRIPA PEAT SWAMP FORESTS, ACEH, INDONESIA
FOR IMMEDIATE DISTRIBUTION
Medan, October 15, 2012
A large, fully adult male Sumatran Orangutan weighing around 90 kg was rescued yesterday (14/10/12) from an isolated forest fragment in the Tripa Peat Swamp Forests in the Nagan Raya District of Aceh Province, Sumatra, Indonesia, as illegal destruction of this unique ecosystem by rogue palm oil companies continues.
Thanks to the cooperation of a team of experts from the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme (SOCP) and the Indonesian Ministry of Forestry’s Department of Forest Protection and Nature Conservation (PHKA), the orangutan, later named Seuneam after the nearest village to where he was found, was evacuated safely and later released early on Monday morning (15/10/12) at the SOCP’s specialist Orangutan Reintroduction Centre in the Jantho Pine Nature Reserve in northern Aceh. Seuneam had been monitored in the field by SOCP staff for several days and had to be rescued as he was trapped in a small fragment of forest surrounded by palm oil plantations, isolated from the rest of the Tripa swamp forests and the rest of Tripa’s surviving orangutan population, estimated today to be only around 200 individuals, and declining fast. Local informants even stated that there was a plan to poison him very soon if he continued to destroy young palm oil seedlings.
The team in the field comprised SOCP veterinarians, staff of BKSDA Aceh (the Government’s provincial Conservation Agency), staff of the Indonesian Sustainable Ecosystem Foundation (Yayasan Ekosistem lestari, or YEL) and local community members.
Head of BKSDA Aceh, Mr Amon Zamora MSc, stated on Sunday evening “BKSDA Aceh strongly supports this orangutan rescue and I hope that other orangutans facing similar threats in Tripa can also be rescued before they are killed, or die of malnutrition. Evacuation efforts like this are essential to our efforts to save the Sumatran orangutan and reduce conflicts with local communities. It’s a sad fact that orangutans are often regarded as pests by people and plantation companies, as when they have no other food to eat they can and do eat and damage agricultural crops.
Meanwhile, head of the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme, Dr Ian Singleton stated “We are always happy to see a successful rescue take place, but these activities are expensive, logistically challenging and also dangerous, for both staff and the orangutans themselves. There is always a serious risk of injury to the animals during capture, especially when they fall from the trees after being anaesthetized. We would much prefer not to have to intervene in this way and in reality we should not be having to rescue orangutans from Tripa, as it is part of the Leuser Ecosystem, now a protected area under National Spatial Planning laws. In fact, several of the palm oil companies operating in Tripa are already under investigation for breaking Indonesian Law and one plantation has even be cancelled. But regrettably, forest clearance, drainage of the peatlands and burning of the land continue unabated, so we have no choice but to rescue orangutans when they will clearly die if we don’t”.
“Both locally, and Globally, people were inspired recently by the strong leadership of new Aceh Governor, Dr Zaini Abdullah, when the Aceh Government revoked an illegal oil palm plantation permit granted to PT Kalista Alam. But despite this, it is still clear to see that rogue palm oil companies are continuing to destroy Tripa’s remaining forests, creating more conflicts between human and orangutan, and other wildlife.” Dr Singleton added.
Drh Yenny Saraswati reiterated during a quiet moment after Seuneam’s eventual return to the wild. “Rescues like this are not something we enjoy. There are serious risks of injury and even death to an orangutan like this during capture, however good modern equipment and drugs are these days. No matter what you do, orangutans climb higher when afraid, and then fall all the way to the ground. We have had several break bones in the past as a result of falls, even though we always try to get a capture net underneath them beforehand. As a veterinarian, its not pleasant to have to take such risks with an animal’s welfare”.
The Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme (SOCP; www.sumatranorangutan.org) is a collaborative programme involving the Swiss based PanEco Foundation (www.paneco.ch), Indonesia’s Yayasan Ecosystem Lestari (www.yelweb.org) and the Indonesian Ministry of Forestry’s Directorate General of Forest Protection and Nature Conservation (DitJen PHKA; www.dephut.go.id)
Main activities of the SOCP include:-
1. Confiscation, quarantine, and reintroduction to the wild of illegal pet Sumatran orangutans
2. Research and monitoring of remaining wild Sumatran orangutan populations
3. Habitat protection and conservation
4. Conservation education and awareness raising
To date the SOCP as returned to the wild more than 180 illegal captive orangutans and rescued a number of orangutans in similar situations to Seuneam.
For further information contact:-
1. Mr Amon Zamora, MSc, Kepala BKSDA Aceh,
Tel: +6282169313999, Email: email@example.com
2. Dr Ian Singleton, Director of Conservation PanEco Foundation / Head of SOCP,
Tel: +62811650491, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ian Singleton, Ph.D Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme, PanEco-YEL Jl. K.H. Wahid Hasyim No 51/74 Medan Baru Medan 20154 North Sumatra Indonesia Tel: +62-61-4514360 Fax: +62-61-4514749 Mobile: +62-811-650491 Email: email@example.com Skypename: Mokko123 Website: www.sumatranorangutan.org Website: www.paneco.ch Blog: IanSingletonSOCP.wordpress.com/
- Sumatran Orangutan Species on the Brink as 3,950 Acre Tripa Peat Swamp Decimated (endoftheicons.wordpress.com)
- Sumatran orangutan rescued in western Indonesia (mysanantonio.com)
- Orangutan rescue in Indonesia (news.com.au)
- It’s either orangutans or cheap palm oil (endoftheicons.wordpress.com)
- Historic Cancellation of Oil Palm Permit Opens Door for Prosecution of Companies Crimes (endoftheicons.wordpress.com)
- Sumatran orangutan rescued in western Indonesia (seattletimes.com)
03 October 2012
INTERNATIONAL PRESS RELEASE
Coalition to Save Tripa Peat Swamp Forest
“Historic Cancellation of Oil Palm Permit Opens Door for Prosecution of Companies Crimes
Latest Satellite Image shows company still burning protected peatlands”
JAKARTA – Less than one week after history was made as the Aceh Government revoked the first industrial palm oil permit from the Tripa Peat Swamp Forest, a coalition of NGO’s known as ‘Save Tripa Peat Forest’ highlighted today in a press briefing additional clear breaches of Indonesia’s multi million dollar forest protection agreement with Norway, only kilometers from the first location, and demanded National Police increase their activities to quickly bring these crimes to trial.
Deddy Ratih, Forest Campaigner for Walhi (Friends of the Earth Indonesia) explained “This continues to be a the leading test case for a National problem. While the revocation of PT Kallista Alam is a step in the right direction, there is still much more action required by police and Government to resolve the problems in Tripa. The Ministry of Environment continues to investigate a raft of the envrionmental crimes in Tripa with no end in sight, meanwhile, the legal testomonies of local communities to the National Police continue to be ignored”
Kamarrudin, the lawyer representing local people and the environment in the Tripa case, said, “There are strong indications that the enforcement of the law in the Tripa case has been “hijacked” by the financial power of corporations operating in the Tripa peat swamps. This can be seen in the less than optimal work of the provincial and national police, and the investigators of the Ministry of the Environment. We request that the National Police Chief and the Ministry of the Environment immediately evaluate the investigative processes to date, and move forward with a thorough investigation of the criminal crimes against spatial planning, plantation and environmental laws and regulations in the Tripa peat swamps. We hope that this case, that has drawn national and international attention, will not be frozen by those with vested interests in the law enforcement and government agencies. We also hold the Ministry of the Environment to its promise to launch criminal and administrative against companies that have committed serious environmental crimes in the Tripa peat swamps”.
In an impassioned address, Adnan NS, a prominent Community leader from Aceh stressed, “Despite the recent cancellation of the PT Kallista Alam permit, and ongoing investigations into violations of the law by this and other companies in Tripa, on the ground nothing has changed yet. Community livelihoods continue to be destroyed, even though local community leaders travelled all the way to Jakarta to report this to the national police back in November 2011. We are still waiting for action and demand to know why their testimonies have been ignored”.
“Over the last two months I’ve been on speaking tours of both the USA and Australia, and all around the world people are continually asking me about the situation in Tripa.” Said Dr Ian Singleton, Conservation Director of the Sumatran Conservation Programme. “International interest in the governance of Indonesia’s remaining forests and rapidly declining wild species populations is extremely high, and to them my message is clear – anyone with a computer can now check on forest clearance in Indonesia, measure and quantify it, and get daily updates on illegal fires, and circulate that information globally. As individuals we have never before had access to so much quantifiable information in other parts of the world or the ability to share it so widely and people around the world continue to be extremely alarmed and concerned about Tripa, as what they see is that so far nothing has yet changed. Unless the destruction is halted very very quickly, we are still likely to see the local extinction of Sumatran Orangutans from Tripa in the very near future.
“The forest concession known as Dua Perkasa Lestari (DPL) has been marked as off-limits in all three releases of the Government’s moratorium map, a tool designed to reduce carbon emissions from deforestation and degradation, but satellite imagery from last week clearly show that burning and illegal clearing of Tripa’s peat swamp forests is still taking place. Furthermore, the DPL area has no clear HGU permit, it clearly lies within the Leuser Ecosystem protected by National Spatial Planning law 26/2007, and it contains peat over 3m deep. There are three companies that have been the major burning culprits, namely PT.SPS2, PT DPL and PT KA. We should pay greater attention to this because it is in violation of Law No. 32/2009 on the Environmental Protection and Management” explained Riswan Zen, a Senior GIS mapping expert from the Univeristy of North Sumatra.
“Over 25,000 people have already signed a petition calling for immediate action to halt the destruction of Tripa’s unique ecosystem, from within Tripa itself, from Aceh, from Indonesia, and from all over the world, contributing to the recent closure of the illegal PT Kallista Alam concession. Now we, together with the local community, are launching a new petition (at http://www.change.org/savetripa2) calling on Indonesia’s National Police to support the findings of the REDD+ Taskforce and the Ministry of Environment, and immediately escalate the cases under investigation to formal prosecutions. Much more still needs to be done to protect the remaining forests of Tripa, Aceh, and Indonesia as a whole. But the recent cancellation of the illegal PT Kallista Alam concession is an historic legal precedent for the country and it now needs to be followed up with the investigation and processing of all law breakers, and prosecution for their offences” Said Usman Hamid of Change.org Indonesia.
Its up to all of us to take action to protect the environment, and it can be as simple as signing a petition online, sharing it with your friends, tweeting and using social media to make our country a better place for all Indonesians,” said Melanie Subono. “I’m proud to have signed the petition to save Tripa and to see our laws finally being enforced. In fact, it is our duty as citizens to demand that our laws be upheld, especially those protecting the environment we all live in. Very soon I plan to visit Tripa and see the Orangutans, the forests, and the destruction still taking place with my own eyes. I’ll be going in close to 4 weeks time, and sincerely hope that before I get there, the National Police will have finally begun to take action on this globally important issue”
For further media comment or information, please contact:
Dr Ian Singleton
Director of Conservation, Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Program
Forest Campaigner, WALHI Indonesia (Friends of the Earth Indonesia)
Political Campaigner, Greenpeace Indonesia
Nurdin Hasan | September 28, 2012
Banda Aceh. Aceh Governor Zaini Abdullah has revoked the business permit for a palm oil plantation in Rawa Dipa, a lush forest and peatland region in the province’s Nagan Raya district.
The move to close the estate, which is owned by plantation firm Kallista Alam, was hailed as a victory by environmentalists, who have sought to see the stretch of land protected.
Makmur Ibrahim, the Aceh administration’s legal and public relations bureau head, said that the governor signed the revocation letter on Thursday to comply with a ruling issued by the Medan High Court on Aug. 30, ordering the permit to be pulled.
“It’s not possible to file an appeal on the High Court’s ruling and that’s the basis of [our decision],” Makmur said on Friday. “All of PT Kallista’s activity on the 1,605-hectare plantation must stop. It will be a violation of the law if it continues to operate.”
He added that Aceh’s Forestry and Plantation Agency will monitor the company to ensure that it complies with the order.
The company obtained the permit to open the plantation from then governor Irwandi Yusuf in August 2011.
But the governor’s decision was met with protests by environmental activists who said that the area was the habitat of Sumatran orangutans, which are critically endangered, and other rare animals.
The Aceh chapter of the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi) dragged the governor to the Aceh state administrative court but the court rejected Walhi’s suit on April 3. Walhi then appealed the ruling to the Medan High Court.
Walhi Aceh praised the governor’s willingness to comply with the law.
“The order from the Medan High Court is clear that the Aceh governor has to revoke the permit for PT Kallista’s 1,605 hectare plantation in Rawa Tripa,” Walhi Aceh director T. Muhammad Zulfikar said. “The Aceh administration has to execute the ruling because if not, it will be in violation of the law.”
Zulfikar said that Rawa Tripa is part of the Leuser Ecosystem Area, which is considered a strategic national zone that is protected.
The permit originally allowed the firm to set up shop in the Tripa peat area, which was within the boundary of a deforestation moratorium area on a map that had been published in 2011. Critics claim that the permit should not have been issued because companies aren’t allowed to do damage to protected areas.
A government-formed task force later concluded that Kallista Alam had violated regulations by turning the swamp forest into a plantation.