Your letters: The year of the Orangutan
Paper Edition | Page: 8
With the population of orangutans continuing to plummet at a rate of between 1,000 and 2,500 a year, the need for more urgent action is clear. A coalition of three campaign groups plans to make 2013 the year when the killing has to stop: Centre for Orangutan Protection (Indonesia), Friends of the Orangutans (Malaysia), Nature Alert (Rest of the World)
Plans are underway to draw attention to the primary cause of the decimation of species like the orangutan: namely the palm oil industry.
The present population of orangutan is thought to be 50,000 to 60,000. The species will freefall to extinction in the next two decades.
We must not and we will not sit around watching this magnificent species be slaughtered by the rapid spread of palm oil plantations in Malaysia and Indonesia. We must save the orangutan and to do this we need to save its habitat.
Living only in Borneo and Sumatra, orangutans are divided into two species: Sumatran and Kalimantan. In the Malaysian state of Sabah there are only about 10,000 remaining, down from about 40,000 in the late 1960s.
Sarawak has about 2,000 orangutans and the prospects for survival are bleak due to rampant logging. The state of Sabah (Malaysia) happily permits logging companies to destroy the forest forever.
This is a very sad reflection on those empowered to protect the species, namely the Sabah Wildlife Department.
The island of Sumatra has about 6,000 orangutans left and these are disappearing fast due to deforestation by palm oil companies demanding new land, including “protected” forests for their crops.
Kalimantan holds a rapidly declining population of some 40,000 orangutans. There are about 1,000 orangutans in rescue centers throughout Indonesia, the vast majority of them victims of the palm oil industry.
The Indonesian government admits orangutans have been deliberately killed at the rate of 3,000 a year for the last 25 years.
Unless palm oil companies do something now orangutans will be killed until they are all gone.
Year of the Orangutan will focus the world’s attention on the palm oil industry and its destructive, corrupt lust for profits at any price.
The palm oil industry is the biggest killer of orangutans and many other protected species. Prosecutions in Indonesia are rare and never happen at all in Malaysia.
The evidence against palm oil producers for the mass slaughter is overwhelming. Documentary films, scientific reports, news reports all point the finger at the palm oil industry.
We demand the palm oil industry declares a “No Kill — Zero Tolerance” policy. And then backs this up by involving NGOs and scientists in monitoring progress. Palm oil producers, and those who buy their products, have the blood of tens of thousands orangutans on their hands.
There is little time left to save this species. Habitat is sacrificed everyday to boost the bottom line of company balance sheets, and satisfy shareholders.
People of Indonesia, please give the orangutans your support. These animals are an irreplaceable national treasure. Save them now or lose them forever.
Centre for Orangutan Protection