An article written by Dr. Ian Singleton, director of SOCP (Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Program) about the fate of Orangutan when their home range being taken away by companies
Today an Orangutan confiscation team comprising staff and a veterinarian from the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Program (SOCP: PanEco Foundation and Yayasan Ekosistem Lestari) local armed police, and field staff from BKSDA Aceh (the Indonesian Ministry of Forestry’s nature conservation agency in Aceh) successfully confiscated a 2 year old orphan Sumatran orangutan from a location where it is was being detained illegally as a pet in a rural village in Aceh Barat Daya District, close to the Tripa peat swamp forests in Aceh Province, Indonesia.
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Confiscation of illegally held orphan Sumatran Orangutan
ILLEGAL ‘PET’ ORPHAN ORANGUTAN SAVED IN SUMATRA
NEAR TRIPA PEAT SWAMP FORESTS
[Aceh Province – Sumatra – Indonesia]
Today an Orangutan confiscation team comprising staff and a veterinarian from the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Program (SOCP: PanEco Foundation and Yayasan Ekosistem Lestari) local armed police, and field staff from BKSDA Aceh (the Indonesian Ministry of Forestry’s nature conservation agency in Aceh) successfully confiscated a 2 year old orphan Sumatran orangutan from a location where it is was being detained illegally as a pet in a rural village in Aceh Barat Daya District, close to the Tripa peat swamp forests in Aceh Province, Indonesia. (full release available upon request, please email firstname.lastname@example.org)
For further comment or information please contact:
Dr Ian Singleton
Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Program
+628 1156 0491
Environmental group, the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi), may have lost the first battle in its fight against deforestation in Tripa Peat Swamp, Aceh, but the group have now won support from a government-sanctioned task force.
The Reducing Emissions for Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) task force visited the area last month when Walhi, and other local green groups, were awaiting a verdict on a lawsuit they had filed against the Aceh administration for issuing a concession permit to PT Kallista Alam.
The Aceh Administrative Court delivered its verdict in favor of the administration on April 3 and Walhi filed an appeal the day after.
Outgoing Aceh governor Irwandi Yusuf had signed the permit last August, allowing the company to convert a 1,605-hectare plot of protected peatland forest in the Nagan Raya district into oil palm plantations.
Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan plans to visit Aceh later this month to meet with the newly elected governor Zaini Abdullah and discuss forestry conditions in Aceh, including the Tripa peat land.
The Forestry Ministry’s spokesman, Sumarto Suharno, said the ministry had banned the issuance of new permits since 2009. “The outgoing Aceh governor signed the new permit in 2011, two years after the ban was imposed,” he said.
Environmental activists also have pointed out that the Tripa peat land area is part of the Leuser ecosystem and that the permit jeopardizes a moratorium on forest clearing, which was issued in June 2011.
The moratorium map initially covered 10.7 hectares of peat land, including the Tripa Peat Swamp, protecting them against new permits.
However, the Tripa peat-land area was removed from the map through a forestry ministerial decree, issued last November, because data from the National Land Agency (BPN) indicated that the area was suitable for commercial development.
According to a report issued by the Presidential Unit for the Supervision and Control of Development (UKP3S), led by Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, who is also the REDD task force chairman, the company, which should never have received the permit, had allegedly begun clearing the land prior to the permit’s issuance.
“Walhi and the REDD task force found out that the company had used a slash-and-burn method to clear the area. The fires were within a 12-kilometer radius,” Walhi Aceh’s head of advocacy and campaigns, M. Nizar Abdurrani, said on Tuesday.
He added that many animals, such as deer and anteaters, which had managed to escape the flames by entering local villages, had been killed by locals. The REDD task force findings that were released recently supported the activists’ claims.
In a press release made available to The Jakarta Post, the team said that PT Kallista Alam’s plantation was located within the Leuser ecosystem zone. Based on a sampling, they also discovered that the area was covered in thick moss and was part of protected peat-land forest.
The task force has determined that the Aceh administration could also be charged under the 2004 Plantations Law; the 2009 Environmental Protection and Management Law; and the 2007 Spatial Planning Law. (tas
BREAKING NEWS : Sumatran Orangutan Rescue Highlights Action Not Words Needed to Save Orangutan Population in Tripa Peat Swamp Forest, Indonesia.
For immediate Distribution
The Coalition to Save Tripa Peat Swamp Forest
Sumatran Orangutan Rescue Highlights Action Not Words Needed to Save Orangutan Population in Tripa Peat Swamp Forest, Indonesia.
[TRIPA – ACEH PROVINCE – SUMATRA – INDONESIA]
Today a specialist Orangutan rescue team from the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme (SOCP), Yayasan Ekosistem Lestari (YEL) and BKSDA Aceh (the Indonesian Ministry of Forestry’s nature conservation agency in Aceh) successfully rescued a large adult male orangutan trapped in a small pocket of forest in the Tripa peat swamps, surrounded by encroaching palm oil plantations.
The large Sumatran orangutan was identified by YEL field staff as being at high risk as the small forested area in which he was isolated is continuously encroached upon for palm oil. The area measuring less than 1 hectare and situated very near the northern end of a palm oil concession currently being contested legally in court, was bare of fruit, and the large Sumatran orangutan was already showing signs of malnutrition. “We first saw this orangutan about 3 months ago and it looks like he’s lost around 30% of his body weight since then”, noted SOCP veterinarian drh Yenny Saraswati, who carried out the capture. “If we hadn’t rescued him now he would eventually have starved to death”, she added. “we’ve rescued several orangutans like this in Tripa over the last few years. We don’t like doing it, its risky for the animals as after they’re darted they fall from the tree and can get serious injuries, like broken bones. It would be much better for them if they could simply stay in the forests, but if the forests are disappearing, we have to try to do something!”
Indrianto, a field worker with YEL, explained, “In these situations it really is a race against time. Many orangutans get killed or captured by plantation workers, some ending up as illegal pets. The orangutan we rescued today had already begun eating the shoots of oil palm seedlings nearby, as he had nothing else to eat, and would almost certainly have been killed for this if we hadn’t intervened.”
“Several palm oil companies are continuing to destroy the habitat of the Critically Endangered orangutans in Tripa, including PT Kallista Alam and PT Surya Panen Subur 2, both of whose concessions begin just a few hundred meters from the rescue location. This is despite a number of legal investigations into their activities”, said SOCP Director Dr Ian Singleton. “We have been forced to take action and rescue this Sumatran orangutan today as otherwise he would have starved to death, and many other orangutans in Tripa are facing the same fate, if legal actions against those companies breaking national laws cannot immediately stop the destruction”.
“The Tripa peat swamp forest supports the highest density of orangutans anywhere on earth, but is still being cleared by palm oil companies who think they are beyond the reach of the law. The situation is urgent and requires action, not words, to save Tripa’s remaining orangutans”.
The Head of the Indonesian Government’s special REDD+ Task Force, Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, yesterday announced an immediate detailed investigation to determine if land allocation for palm oil plantations in Tripa has been in accordance with prevailing national laws and administrative procedures, and if the plantation companies are operating on the ground in accordance with national laws.
He demanded that the Ministry of the Environment and the Head of the Indonesian National Police conduct further investigations. If legal evidence of lawbreaking is found, he expects that the Ministry of the Environment and the National Police will take appropriate actions to bring a halt to these activities, to penalize the offenders, and to recover the losses caused by ecosystem degradation within the Leuser Ecosystem National Strategic Area.
These comments and instructions from the head of the REDD+ task force are extremely welcome, and very much supported, but right now Tripa’s peat swamp forests continue to be cleared and drained. The swamps are criss-crossed by a vast network of canals draining this unique wetland ecosystem 24 hours a day, threatening to drain all life out of the remaining forests. . An immediate order needs to be made from President SBY to cease all land clearing activities and palm oil operations while the Ministry of Environment and the National Police gather evidence for prosecution. The companies need to be ordered to cease all activities immediately, and the drainage canals need to be blocked as soon as possible.
For further media comment please contact:
Dr Ian Singleton, Director Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Program
Mobile; +62-811 650 491
Yuyun Indradi, Greenpeace / Forest Political Campaigner;
Mobile: +62-812 2616 1759
TRUTH AND CONSEQUENCES : Palm Oil Plantations Push Unique Orangutan Population to Brink of Extinction
an expose by Rainforest Action Network
The dire situation in Tripa contradicts many commitments made by the Indonesian government and international agribusiness to break the link between deforestation and palm oil production.
Download the full report here: Tripa Truth and Consequences. Report by RAN