Indonesia has launched a criminal investigation into the burning of a peatland forest on Sumatra island that environmentalists said resulted in the deaths of orangutans, an official said on Tuesday.
Investigators will summon officials from two companies suspected of burning a large swath of the Tripa forest to make way for palm oil plantations, said Sudaryono, the head of law enforcement at the Environment Ministry.
“Our investigators found that there have been fires in areas controlled by SPS2 and KA,” he said, referring to palm oil companies Surya Panen Subur 2 and Kallista Alam.
A coalition of local and international conservation groups warned in March that orangutans in the Tripa forest could disappear by the end of this year unless action was taken to stop fires and land clearing there.
The coalition said an estimated 100 orangutans had died in the area in recent years as a result of land clearing, with only 200 remaining.
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