FROM CORRESPONDENTS IN JAKARTA. From:AFP. March 29, 2012 12:55AM
- The Autralian. Breaking News
CRITICALLY-endangered orangutans in a protected area of Indonesia will be wiped out by the end of the year if land clearing is not stopped, a coalition of environmental groups warned today.
The government must immediately halt the clearance of forest in the 13,000-hectare peat swamps in Tripa, Aceh province, the groups including Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth said.
They also called on the government to investigate the use of fire by palm oil companies for land clearing and reinforce existing laws protecting the ecosystem.
Ian Singleton, conservation director of Swiss-based PanEco, one of the groups making up the Coalition for Protection of Tripa Swamp, said the roughly 200 orangutans left in the peat swamps will be gone in months if the fires continue.
“The speed of destruction, fires, burning and everything has gone up dramatically in the last few weeks, let alone in the last year, and this is obviously a deliberate drive by these companies to clear all the remaining forests,” he said.
“If this is not stopped right now, then all those orangutans, all those forests, will be gone before the end of 2012.”
Experts believe there are about 50,000 to 60,000 of the two species of orangutans left in the wild, 80 per cent of them in Indonesia and the rest in Malaysia.
They are faced with extinction from poaching and the rapid destruction of their forest habitat, driven largely by palm oil and paper plantations.
Most of those left are the endangered Bornean orangutan species. And Singleton said that based on 2004 figures there are only 6600 of the critically-endangered Sumatran orangutans left in North Sumatra and Aceh provinces.
“We suspect that up to 100 orangutans may have perished in forest clearing and peat burning in the last few months in Tripa,” said Graham Usher of local group Foundation of a Sustainable Ecosystem.
Satellite monitoring found at least 87 fire hotspots between March 19 and 24 in three palm oil concessions.
Footage and images captured large clouds of white smoke and patches of burnt peat.
At least 2800 hectares of peat were destroyed in the latest fires, and the number of animals, including Sumatran orangutans, Malayan sun bears and Sumatran tigers that perished was “immeasurable”, the local group added.
Palm oil is a key ingredient in soap and everyday foods ranging from peanut butter to sweets but its cultivation is considered one of the biggest threats to the world’s dwindling rainforests.
Tripa Peat Swamps and their Orangutans being cremated to annihilation: Government of Indonesia must uphold law or face international shame
We, Walhi Indonesia, Greenpeace Indonesia, Yayasan Ekosistem Lestari, Sawit Watch Indonesia, the Coalition Team for Saving the Tripa Peat Swamps, are here today to demand the following:
- The immediate enforcement of laws protecting the Leuser Ecosystem, including the Tripa Peat Swamps, namely: The Spatial Planning Law (UU 26/2007) and subsequent Government Regulation (PP 26/2008) which establishes the Leuser Ecosystem as a National Strategic Area with an environmental protection function; and the Law of the Governance of Aceh (UU11/2006) which obligates the Government and the Government of Aceh to protect the Leuser Ecosystem.
- That the National Police immediately investigate the allegations made by local community members on the 23rd of November 2011 of the breaking of both the National Spatial Planning Law, and the Law on the Governance of Aceh, by the Governor of Aceh when he issued a new concession to PT Kallista Alam for an area within the Leuser Ecosystem, and that they also investigate the Aceh police force for its failure to investigate the case adequately, and their suspected collusion with the Governor and PT Kallista Alam.
- The immediate formation of a national-level credible investigation into the use of fire for land clearing by oil palm concessions in Tripa, the clearance and conversion of deep peat, the clearance of high conservation value forest, and the complete lack of any provision for the protection of wildlife species in Tripa that are themselves legally-protected under Indonesian Law.
- An immediate investigation by UKP4 into the practices involved in the November 2011, revision of the Indicative Map of Primary Forests and Peatlands, in particular the case of the mysterious withdrawal of the area covered by the new PT Kallista Alam concession issued by the Governor of Aceh on 25th August 2011, from the earlier version of the map despite its being issued after the moratorium was declared.
- That the Government IMMEDIATELY order oil palm companies with concessions within the Tripa Peat Swamps of the Leuser Ecosystem to completely cease ALL land clearing and burning activities pending the outcomes of the above enquiries.
- That the Government of Norway immediately suspend the bilateral Letter of Intent of May 27th 2010, and any payments of the US$1 billion promised in the LOI, until the Government of Indonesia has thoroughly investigated the alleged contraventions of Indonesian law by National, Provincial and District Government officials, the Aceh Police force, and Oil Palm Concession holders in the Tripa Peat Swamps of the Leuser Ecosystem, and demonstrated its total commitment to the supremacy of the law and its international obligations.
- That the Governors’ Climate and Forests Task Force (GCF) immediately suspend Aceh from its membership, until the Aceh Government has demonstrated its commitment to upholding the Laws of Aceh and Indonesia, and the goals and agenda of the GCF.
- That the Round Table for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) who in 2006 endorsed the resolution “Palm Oil Cultivation according to RSPO Criteria and Principles on FallowLand in the Context of Relocating Palm-Oil Concessions Threatening HCVF”, and in 2008 the resolution “The primary rainforests of Tripa, peat swamp forests of exceptional high conservationvalue, are presently being destroyed for palm oil plantations”, thereby agreeing to engage with the palm oil companies destroying Tripa to achieve a solution, to immediately contact the head of the Indonesian palm oil association (GAPKI) and urge him to bring sanctions against oil palm concessionaires within the Tripa Peat Swamps of the Leuser Ecosystem that are breaking mandatory ISPO standards.
- We also request all supporters of good environmental governance and biodiversity conservation, in Indonesia and around the world, to sign an electronic petition to save the Tripa Peat Swamps at endoftheicons.wordpress.com and/or contacting their local legislature, or nearest Indonesian legislation to express their disgust at the blatant environmental and social crimes that are being perpetrated by oil palm concessions in the Tripa peat swamps within the Leuser Ecosystem National Strategic Area. (More information is also available at the “Save the Tripa Peat Swamps”: please click “like”).
Dear Fellow Football Lovers,
We all hate spam mails, but please take 2 minutes to read our message and realize that this is not Spam.
We are football fans who happen to also be members of a coalition of people concerned about the environment in Aceh, Indonesia. We are trying to save the Tripa peat swamps in Aceh on the island of Sumatra, Indonesia, and the rare orangutans (and tigers and bears and many other endangered species) that live there, from extinction. This is important not only to save the Sumatran orangutan (one of our closest cousins), but also to stop the release of huge amounts of carbon from the peat swamps that will contribute to global warming. Our opponents are oil palm companies who regularly break Indonesian and international laws, and get away with it through corruption and intimidation.
More infomation can be found at an online petition that we have set up at the following website: http://www.change.org/petitions/enforce-the-law-protecting-tripa-peat-swamp-and-its-orangutan-populations
or at the facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/savetripa
Images and videos of recent fires and destruction can be found at: https://endoftheicons.wordpress.com/category/video/
Many of you may not be aware how massive the premier league is in SE Asia, especially Malaysia and Indonesia. Every weekend millions of Indonesians sit up til all hours to watch live Premier League games. This weekend we will be watching, Aston Villa v Chelsea; Everton v WBA; Man. City v Sunderland; Newcastle U. v Liverpool; Spurs v Swansea City; QPR v Arsenal; and Blackburn R. v Man Utd. Millions of people watch YOU watching these games, your banners, your costumes and your flags. Amongst our coalition we have fanatic fans of Liverpool, Arsenal, Man. Utd, Chelsea, QPR (particularly Malaysians), Spurs, Hull City and Ipswich Town (okay the last 2 of us are Brits!). We love football, and we think that besides providing entertainment for millions around the world, it can also be a force for social change.
We realize time is short, but we are appealing for your support in the following in one or more of the following ways over the next few days:
1. Share this email with your friends and family.
2. Sign the online petition (website above) expressing you support for enforcing Indonesian laws that protect these orangutans and peat swamps.
3. If you are going to one of the games listed above this weekend, make a show of support for our cause by make banners/placards: suggested messages could be “SAVE TRIPA ORANGUTANS IN ACEH” or better still the Indonesian equivalent “SELAMATKAN ORANGUTAN TRIPA DI ACEH”. Another option is “ENFORCE THE LAW TO SAVE TRIPA” or its equivalent “TEGAKKAN HUKUM, SELAMATKAN TRIPA”. A few seconds of images of these signs, especially if those holding them were wearing ORANGUTAN costumes, on live TV in Indonesia could have a huge difference. YOU would be making a massive contribution to saving these orangutans and our envrionment.
4. If you do want to wear an ORANGUTAN costume, we know that Greenpeace in the UK has lots of Orangutan costumes, and you could also contact SOS (a UK-based Sumatran orangutan conservation organization). Alternatively, you local party costume outlet might have one.
Please, please support us, have some fun, and enjoy the games this weekend of the best footall league in the world,
Thanks, the Coalition for the Saving The Tripa Peat Swamps
If you need more information feel free to contact:
- Deddy Ratih, (fanatic Liverpool) Walhi / Friends of the Earth Indonesia; Mobile: +62-81250807757, Email: email@example.com
- Yuyun Indradi, (calm Arsenal) Greenpeace/Forest Political Campaigner; Mobile: +62-812 2616 1759, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Ian Singleton, Ph.D (Hull City comedian) Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme/Director of Conservation; Mobile: +62811650491, Email: email@example.com
- Graham Usher, (ever-optimistic Ipswich Town) Landscape protection specialist: +6287766008476, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Forest fires and land clearing by palm oil firms could kill off within weeks about 200 orangutans in a forest in western Indonesia, an environmental group said on Wednesday.
The orangutans, part of a population of around 6,600 on Sumatra island, used to live in a lush forest and peatland region called Rawa Tripa on the coast of Indonesia’s Aceh province. But more than two-thirds of the area has been divided up into palm oil concessions, said the Coalition to Save Tripa.
Graham Usher, a member of the coalition and a landscape protection specialist, said satellite images showed forest fires had been burning in Tripa since last week, and if allowed to continue they could wipe out orangutans already forced onto the edge of remaining forests.
“If there is any prolonged dry spell, which is quite likely, there’s a very good chance that the whole piece of forest and everything in it, so that’s orang-utans, sun bears, tigers, and all the other protected species in it, will disappear in a few weeks and will be gone permanently,” he told a news conference.
The palm oil industry has expanded to make Indonesia the world’s top producer and exporter of the edible oil, used to make goods ranging from cooking oil and biodiesel to biscuits and soap to feed growing Asian consumer demand.
Deforestation has threatened animals like the Sumatran tiger and Javan rhino and pushed up carbon dioxide emissions. The Bali tiger and the Java tiger have disappeared in the last 70 years. A two-year moratorium on new permits to clear primary forests came into effect in Indonesia last year, part of a $1-billion deal with Norway to cut emissions and slow expansion of plantations. But the moratorium was breached in Aceh on its first days, an environmental group has said.
The last Aceh permit for palm oil was issued by former Aceh governor Irwandi Yusuf in August last year to PT Kallista Alam, prompting environmental group WALHI to file a legal suit against Yusuf. A court verdict is expected next week.
“If Kallista Alam win the case they will burn it and that whole bit of forest will disappear and we can say goodbye to the orangutan of Tripa peat swamps,” Usher said.
Kallista Alam could not be reached for comment.
By ALI KOTARUMALOS, Associated Press – 2 hours ago JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) —
Hundreds of critically endangered orangutans in western Indonesia could be wiped out by the year’s end if palm oil companies keep setting land-clearing fires in their peat swamp forests, conservationists warned Thursday.
“They are just barely hanging on,” Ian Singleton, conservation director of the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Program, said of the Sumatran orangutans who live in the Tripa forest on the coast of Aceh province. “It is no longer several years away, but just a few months or even weeks before this iconic creature disappears.”
The forest — though officially protected — is hemmed in by palm oil plantations, including one that was granted a permit just last year
Land clearing fires, several set inside the perimeters, have sent orangutans fleeing. Some risk being captured or killed by residents, Singleton said. Others will simply die, either directly in the fires or of gradual starvation and malnutrition as their food resources disappear.
“We are currently watching a global tragedy,” he said.
There are only 6,600 Sumatran orangutans left in the wild.
The Tripa forest — which in the early ’90s was home to around 3,000 of them — today has just 200. But with eight individuals every square kilometer, its the densest population in the world.
Cloud-free images from December show only 12,267 hectares (30,311 acres) of Tripa’s original 60,000 hectares (148,260 acres) of forest remains, said Graham Usher of the Foundation of a Sustainable Ecosystem.
The rest has been broken up and degraded as palm oil companies drain the swamp, he said, adding a total of 92 fire hotspots were recorded between March 19 and 25 in several of the surrounding plantations.
A half-century ago, more than three-quarters of Indonesia was blanketed in plush tropical rain forest. But half those trees have been cleared in the rush to supply the world with pulp, paper and, more recently, palm oil — used to make everything from lipstick and soap to “clean-burning” fuel.
Governments are now trying to find ways to convince the sprawling archipelagic nation to keep trees standing.
As part of a $1 billion deal with Norway, Indonesia recently put in place a two-year moratorium on issuing new permits to clear primary forests.
But conservationists say that deal was violated when the government gave a license to PT Kallista Alam last year to convert 4,000 acres of the Tripa peat swamp. Three other companies are already operating in the area.
An environmental group has filed both a criminal complaint and a lawsuit against the government. The Aceh Administrative Court is expected to hand down a verdict on the lawsuit next week.
Copyright © 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.