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Jakarta Post

Palm oil development threatens Aceh's orangutans

  • Jonathan Wootliff

  /   Tue, June 30 2009   /  11:26 am

Conservation campaigners in Britain are calling on supermarkets to stop selling products that contain palm oil harvested from environmentally sensitive areas in Indonesia. Palm oil is widely used in everything from chocolate cookies and potato crisps to detergent and lipstick, and Indonesia is the world's largest producer of this much prized commodity. The target of this current campaign is the major London Stock Exchange-quoted conglomerate, Jardine Matheson, which is the majority shareholder in an Indonesian palm oil company that plans to convert sections of the Tripa swamp forest in Aceh, Sumatra into palm oil plantations. Environmentalists claim that the venture will destroy a biologically rich ecosystem that is home to more than 6,000 orangutans. Although more commonly known as one of Borneo's most endangered species, orangutan populations in Sumatra a...