BREAKING! May 21, 2012
Indonesia peatland back on protected list in test case: Reuters. Tripa orangutan habitat to regain protection! It's amazing what can be achieved when the major global rainforest protection efforts work together to fully protect primary rainforests, rather than their "sustainable logging" destruction. EI's global network sent 284,017 protest emails from 112 countries, and you can still do so below.
The globally exceptional Tripa peat swamp rainforests of Aceh, Indonesia have been set illegally ablaze by the oil palm industry, threatening to massacre one of the largest and most dense natural populations of orangutans. Hundreds of critically endangered orangutans could be wiped out if palm oil companies keep setting land-clearing fires in their peat swamp forests. 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. The whole of the Tripa peat swamps lie within the Protected Leuser Ecosystem. With an unusually dense eight individuals every square kilometer, the area has long been recognized as an UNEP/UNESCO Great Ape Survival Partnership Priority Site.
As recently as the early 1990s, the Tripa rainforest held a few thousand orangutans, but is now down to a few hundred. More than two-thirds of the area has been divided up into palm oil concessions, and only 12,267 hectares (30,311 acres) of Tripa's original 60,000 hectares (148,260 acres) of forest remains. In addition to orangutans, the Tripa peat swamp is home to tigers and bears. All of Tripa’s plant and wildlife species are threatened by the illegal activities of a small number of rogue palm oil plantation companies – including known renegade PT. Kallista Alam. Three other companies are already operating in the area. They have set nearly 100 forest fires which have been burning in Tripa since last week. The forest — though officially protected — is hemmed in by palm oil plantations, and has been badly fragmented.
A half-century ago, more than three-quarters of Indonesia was blanketed in lush tropical rain forest. But over half of these rainforests have been cleared – and many more diminished – in the rush to supply the world with pulp, paper and, more recently, palm oil — used to make everything from soap, food, to biofuel. 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 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. Please tell President Yudhoyono of Indonesia to order palm oil companies to cease the burning of the Tripa forest immediately and save Sumatran orangutans.
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A half-buried, nearly-dead orangutan after rainforest habitat stolen and burnt
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