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Jakarta Post

Indonesia’s for-profit conservationists

  • Melati Kaye


Jakarta   /   Tue, November 27 2012   /  11:40 am

Running alongside the eastern border of Kalimantan’s Tanjung Puting National Park is a broad expanse of oil palm plantation.

The tropical rainforest teeming with various tree species and swinging orangutans would jut up against the endless rows of mono-cultured oil palms if not for a 91,000-hectare swath of privately owned land separating the park and plantation.

This land too has prime plantation potential. Instead, businessman Eka Ginting has preserved its natural environment to contain an orangutan sanctuary.

Eka is no diehard environmentalist willing to forgo vast profits to save a bunch of primates and conserve biodiversity. He hails from a family with investments in extractive industries and is one of a growing number of hardheaded Indonesian businessmen seeking profits through conservation work. For Eka, “conservation is a for-profit activity.”