Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Palm oil plantations spreading like an uncontrollable plague.

Photos taken this week near Pangkalabun, Central Kalimantan (Borneo). Not long ago this was all rainforest. Now all you can see are oil palm plantations; no birds, no insects, no animals - chain saws, fires and insecticides made sure of that.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said in Decem,ber 2007 at
the launch of an orangutan conservation plan at the Bali climate talks “In the last 35 years about 50,000 orangutans are estimated to have been lost (diplomatic word for killed or sold into the illegal trade) as their habitats shrank. If this continues, this majestic creature will likely face extinction by 2050. The fate of the orangutan is a subject that goes to the heart of sustainable forests ….To save the orangutan we have to save the forest.”
On 9th September 2005 the government of Indonesia willingly signed what is known as the Kinshasa Declaration on Great Apes. In doing so they committed themselves to, amongst other things, improving the protection of all great apes:

“10. Resolve to set ourselves and all concerned the target, by the year 2010, of securing a constant and significant reduction in the current rate of loss of great ape populations and their habitats; and, by 2015, securing the future of all species and subspecies of great apes in the wild, by: (b) Protecting those sites from further degradation and loss of habitat and working with local and indigenous communities to ensure that any human use of habitats is ecologically sustainable and consistent with maintaining healthy, viable great ape populations; (e) Improving the protection of individual great apes and their habitats everywhere by demonstrably improving where necessary the quality and the enforcement of relevant laws, as well as the capacity of law enforcement agencies;

Three years later, millions hectares of rainforests have been cut down and thousands more orangutans killed.