Thursday, 14 May 2009

Orangutan population in Kalimantan decreases significantly: COP

The Jakarta Post , Jakarta | Thu, 05/14/2009

Kutai National Park in East Kalimantan has been facing a significant decrease in the population of orangutans' sub-species morio (Pongo Pygmaeus Morio), Centre for Orangutan Protection (COP) said Thursday.

The National Forest currently holds 30 to 60 orangutans of the sub-species, down from the 600 it had in 2004, COP Habitat Campaign Manager, Yon Thayrun, said as quoted by Antara state news agency.

According to him, politicians and state officials were to blame for letting and even supporting the constant illegal deforestation in the area of the park.

In 2002, The East Kalimantan government, Yon said, with the permission of the Forestry Ministry had built the 60 kilometers long Bontang-Sengata road, which cut across the park.

The construction of the road had allegedly destroyed the habitat of orangutans and lead to large practices of deforestation. Between 22,000 and 70,000 people had contributed to the effort of deforestation of 23,712 acres of the Kutai National Park.

Yon said the park was turning into a city, with its airport, gas stations, and prostitution area.

COP has also urged for the Corruption Erradication Commission to enforce the law in order to preserve the endangered population of orangutan in the Kutai National Forest.

“The best solution is to seize and put the corrupt politicians and officials to jail. This will make their supporters leave the forest and stop all illegal activities,” he said. (adh)