Tag Archives: Sumatran Orangutans

Indonesian court cancels oil palm plantation permit

We heard this morning that the High Court in Medan has ordered the Aceh Governor, Zaini Abdullah, to revoke a permit for an oil palm plantation in the Tripa peat swamps in Aceh province in the north of the island of Sumatra. The appeal was filed by the Aceh chapter of the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi).

This ruling is very good news for the future of the remaining orangutans in Tripa. It also demonstrates a commitment by the Indonesian government to enforce the laws protecting carbon-rich forests and endangered species. Read the full article in the Jakarta Post and keep up to date with the campaign to save Tripa at End of the Icons

Thank you,

Orangutan Foundation

 

Spare a few minutes to help save habitat of critically endangered great ape

Please sign this petition to the Indonesian President to halt the destuction of the Tripa Swamps, home to a few hundred critically endangered orangutans.

Press release from “Coalition to save the Tripa peat swamps”

Increase in fires burning in Tripa highlight Indonesian Government failing to cease deforestation; orangutan population doomed unless illegal activities halted immediately.

Tripa aerial flyover June 27 2012, 2pm

Another massive wave of fires currently sweeping across the Tripa peat swamp forests has highlighted the accelerating destruction and ongoing disregard of Indonesian National Law by palm oil companies inside the protected Leuser Ecosystem, despite a high level National Investigation launched months ago, which is yet to report on findings.

A recent spike in the number of fires was recorded by satellites monitoring fire hotspot activity in Sumatra, and confirmed by field staff yesterday who filmed and photographed numerous fires burning in the palm oil concessions operating right across in Tripa.

The five companies at present actively operating in Tripa have responded to the increased media scrutiny and current investigation by increasing security on their plantations. Some are even being guarded by military and police personnel stationed along access routes while illegally lit fires burn inside.

“The ongoing destructive activities of these companies during the investigation indicates their complete disregard for Indonesian law and the authority of the ongoing investigation, and the government is allowing this to happen.” Stated Kamaruddin, lawyer for the Tripa community.

“A direct Presidential Instruction is urgently required to bring an immediate halt to the rampant and illegal destruction of Tripa, not a speech telling the world deforestation is a thing of the past.” Kamaruddin added.

“There is no doubt that each of these companies is breaking several laws. Whilst we realize, and very much appreciate and support the investigation going on (by the Department of Environment), it’s proving to be too little too late. These companies simply have to be ordered to stop immediately, and that order to be strictly enforced, otherwise the Peat Forests and inhabitants of Tripa will be lost forever”, he added.

One of the five companies operating in Tripa, PT. Kallista Alam, was challenged in court and its concession area recently reinstated as off limits to deforestation and degradation in the 2nd revision of Moratorium Map on May 25th, 2012. This particular concession has been the subject of an ongoing legal battle as it clearly contravenes National Spatial Law No 26/2007 and Government Regulation 26/2008, since it was granted inside the Leuser Ecosystem National Strategic Area for environmental protection, in which no concessions can be granted that damage the environmental protection function of the ecosystem, and in which all activities that do damage the ecosystem must be halted, and damaged areas restored.

Fires continued to rage late yesterday in the northern stretches of the PT Kallista Alam concession. Likewise, numerous obviously deliberately set fires were also observed in the concessions of PT. Surya Panen Subur 2, PT. Cemerlang Abadi, PT. Gelora Sawita Makmur , PT. Dua Perkasa Lestari and an area known as the PT Patriot Guna Sakti Abadi concession, even though the latter was never formally granted.

“The situation is indeed extremely dire” reports Dr Ian Singleton of the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme. “Every time I have visited Tripa in the last 12 months I have found several orangutans, hanging on for their very survival, right at the forest edge. Its very easy to find them and we have already evacuated a few lucky ones to safer areas. But when you see the scale and speed of the current wave of destruction and the condition of the remaining forests, there can be no doubt whatsoever that many have already died in Tripa due to the fires themselves, or due to starvation as a result of the loss of their habitat and food resources”, he explained.

The Tripa peat swamp forests have received considerable international attention, much of it focusing on the fact that the burning of Tripa’s peat swamp forests made a mockery of a 1 billion USD agreement between the Governments of Indonesia and Norway to reduce carbon emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, also known as the REDD deal, since the peat alone in Tripa sequesters huge amount of carbon that is being released into the atmosphere even now .

Tripa was also high on the agenda at the first meeting between the newly inaugurated Governor of Aceh and the European Union, just a few days ago. Furthermore, on June 13th at a global policy address on the future of Indonesia’s forests, ahead of Rio+20 summit, at CIFOR, President SBY himself proclaimed that “deforestation is a thing of the past” and “Losing our tropical rain forests would constitute the ultimate national, global and planetary disaster.  That’s why Indonesia has reversed course by committing to sustainable forestry.”

Yet the ongoing destruction witnessed by the coalition team in recent days is a clear indication that these are simply empty words, and that Indonesia is giving no reasons for its international commitments to be taken as anything more than mere rhetoric.

Dr Singleton also pointed out, “There is still a decent orangutan population in Tripa, however hard and fast it is being extinguished, and there are also large tracts of land that have been cleared of forests but never used. If these companies were immediately instructed to stop all their destructive operations while the legal investigation process continues, and then removed, ideally with prosecutions and appropriate punishment, Tripa, its orangutan population, and many of the contributions it once made to local community livelihoods could still be restored.”

“But without an immediate halt it will all be lost, to the ultimate benefit of only a handful of already incredibly rich people based elsewhere. This whole thing makes absolutely no sense at all, not environmentally nor even economically. It is simply greed, on a massive scale. A simply staggering scale in fact.” Stressed Dr. Ian Singleton. 

Notes for Editors:

Further Hi-res photos available on www.endoftheicons.wordpress.com

Please find map below with satellite monitored fires from the period 17/06/12 – 26/06/12 new data will become available over the coming days

For Further Press inquiries, Please Contact:

 

Kamaruddin (Bahasa Indonesian Only)

Tripa Community Lawyer

08116700118

 

Dr Ian Singleton

Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme

Email: mokko123@gmail.com

Mobile: +62811650491

 

Also, for further media statement, please contact:

 

Saud Usman Nasution

Spokesperson for Indonesian National Police

+62 811 979 2222

 

PT. Kallista Alam

  • Komp. Taman Setiabudi Indah II, blok V (ruko) No. 11-14, Medan 20133 Phone: 061 – 8216541

Fax: 061 – 8216532

  • Jl.Cycas II Blok UU, No.55 Taman Setia Budi Indah, Medan, North Sumatera

Phone: 061-800200, 812380

Fax: 021-812380

 

PT. Surya Panen Subur 2

  • Jl.Pulo Ayang raya,Blok OR Kav.1 Kawasan industri Pulogadung Jakarta13930

Phone: (021)4616555

Fax: (021)4616550

 

PT. Cemerlang Abadi

  • Central Plaza, 3rd Floor, Jl.Jend.Sudirman Kav.47 Jakarta 12930

Phone: 021-5255414,5255413

Fax: 021-520748

 

PT. Dua Perkasa Lestari

  • Rasuna Office Park ZO 10-11 Rasuna Epicentrum, Jakarta

Phone: 021-83703232, 031-5925239

Fax: 021-83704488, 031-5925387

 

PT. Gelora Sawita Makmur

  • LENDMARK Centre,Tower A, 8th floor,Jl. Jend sudirman No.1 Jakarta 12910

Phone: (021)5712790, 5712853

Fax: (021)5712716

Save the Tripa Peat Swamp forests and its critically endangered orangutans

Aceh Judge slammed over Indonesian court’s inability to make a just ruling over simple legal case.

Read full press release here and sign an online petition to enforce the law protecting Tripa Peat Swamp and its orangutan populations.

Please support this important action.

Thank you,

Orangutan Foundation

 

 

Why Investing in Forests is Win-Win for Communities, Climate and Orangutan Conservation

Yesterday, Ashley Leiman, the Orangutan Foundation’s director, was in Jakarta for the launch of a new UNEP report which explains why investing in forests is win-win for communities, climate and orangutan conservation.  Read the report, Orangutans and the economics of sustainable forest management in sumatra   

 Sumatran Orangutan Gail Campbell-Smith

Male Sumatran Orangutan – photo by Gail Campbell-Smith

Sumatran Orangutan Twins

View video footage of the orangutans twins  (Sumatran orangutans give birth to twins) born at the start of 2011  to blind parents from our partners, the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme.

Help the valuable work of this centre by adopting Wenda.

Thank you!

Orangutan Foundation

Save The Tripa Swamps – Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme

Ian Singleton, Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme’s (SOCP) Director of Conservation, has kindly written todays post for this blog to mark Orangutan Awareness Week 2008.

This last few years we, at the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme (SOCP), have been kept very busy trying to save the Tripa peat swamps on the west coast of Aceh. Our “normal” work tackles all aspects of orangutan conservation (SOCP photo gallery) in Sumatra including:-

1. Confiscation, quarantine and reintroduction of illegal pet orangutans
2. Research, surveys and monitoring of wild populations
3. Education and awareness raising
4. Habitat conservation, especially the Batang Toru Forests of North Sumatra and the remaining peat swamp forests of Aceh’s west coast.

The Tripa swamp forests probably harbored around 1,500 or more orangutans at the beginning of the 1990’s but in the years leading up to the fall of the Suharto government and the escalation of the Aceh separatist conflict much of these forests were allocated as oil palm estates. Some of these estates cleared their land, established drainage canals and even planted oil palms in parts of their concessions, but all were then left abandoned during the conflict between 1999 and 2005, during which time they became overgrown and drainage canals became blocked and stagnant.

Tripa Swamp - forest clearance (photo from SOCP)

Destruction of the Tripa Swamps (photo from SOCP)

Tripa Swamp -Digging drainage canals

Digging Drainage Canals (photo from SOCP)

Over the last year or two, however, some of them have resumed operations, meaning new forest clearance (logging, burning etc), new drainage canals, clearing some of the old oil palms and planting with new ones. Naturally, many of the activities of these estates is not consistent with existing laws. For a start, peat of greater than 3 m depth cannot legally be converted, and much of the area under these estates has been measured by SOCP and found to be up to 5 m deep or more. There is also a moratorium on all logging in Aceh, issued by the Governor in 2007, but implementation of this regulation in the field is still lacking.

Measuring depth of peat

Much of the peat due for conversion is more than 5 metres deep and stores huge amounts of carbon. (photo from SOCP)

The destruction of the Tripa peat swamps not only endangers the 250 or so orangutans still surviving there, but also has major implications for climate change and for local communities. The peat swamps store vast amounts of carbon, which will all be released to the atmosphere over the coming years if the clearance and drainage is allowed to continue. Drying of peatlands also results in subsidence of around 1 m in 20 years, extremely worrying in an area on the coast that is already only around 1 m above sea level. Given this, the development of these swamps makes no sense, not even economically.

Due to the urgency of this situation, SOCP has been working extremely hard to bring all these issues to public attention. We have been lobbying local and national governments and our education department has been focusing on the local communities in the area. The issue has already been broadcast on international TV programs and published in both national and international media. It seems now that people are beginning to take notice, but we must continue to be diligent.

For more information on this issue please visit our website and download the Tripa value report. Also see a recent article ‘Urgent Action Needed Over Sumatran Peat Forest Logging‘ in the Telegraph.

Thank you,

Ian