RI govt urged to protect orangutans against palm oil plantation companies

RI govt urged to protect orangutans against palm oil plantation companies

Orangutan (Pongo Pygmaeus). (ANTARA/M. Risyal Hidayat )

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The Center for Orangutan Protection (COP) has urged President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to instruct the Forestry Ministry and the National Police to protect orangutans from the cruelty and brutality of palm oil plantation companies in Kalimantan.

"The slaughter of orangutans as a direct impact of deforestation in the interest of palm oil plantations is a crime that involves the plantation workers, the companies` staffs, and also the government agencies s that issued the permits to open plantations in areas that are orangutan habitats," Daniek, a campaigner of COP, said as quoted in a COP` press statement here on Wednesday.

"Until today, there is no law enforcement against wildlife law violations. The Forestry Ministry, especially the Kalimantan Natural Resources Conservation Agency, do not have sufficient evidence to arrest the criminals, because political and economic interests are involved. So, we need direct action by the President to strengthen the law, spur and encourage the law enforcing agencies to investigate cases of orangutans slaughter, especially those committed by Malaysian companies," he said.

Daniek said the slaughter of apes that occurred in the concession areas of Metro Kajang and AUS in Muara Kaman, East Kalimantan, recently was just a fraction of what was really happening to orangutans in East Kalimantan.

Currently, at least 1,200 orangutans were in rehabilitation centers, and most of them were palm oil plantation victims.

"If one orangutan at a rehabilitation center represents 2 to 10 orangutans that have been killed, we estimate that in reality some 2.400 to 12.000 orangutans were exterminated," he added.

"Enough is enough. It`s time for us to enforce the law. This is a horrendous crime that needs to be stopped. If we do not enforce the law strictly, orangutans will continue to be killed. Indonesian laws should not be disregarded," he stated.

The COP was ready to give its full support to government efforts to find and present witnesses (to instances of orangutan killings) and dig up orangutans graveyards, so it can be used as evidence of the crimes against orangutans, the NGO activist said.

When speaking at a United Nations Climate Change Conference in Bali on December 10, 2007, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono made a commitment to protect orangutans. A similar commitment was also given by the Indonesian government through the Kinshasa Declaration of September 9, 2005. In the declaration, governments pledged to use all their power to protect orangutans and ensure their long-term welfare.