Friday, 27 November 2009

Tigers and orangutans

The news article below contains these paragraphs.

"The sobering results are a wake-up call that current conservation efforts are not going far enough to protect Siberian tigers," said Dr Dale Miquelle a researcher from the WCS's Russian Far East Program.

"The good news is that we believe this trend can be reversed if immediate action is taken."

Russian scientists and conservation organisations are now recommending changes in law enforcement regulations, improvements in habitat protection, and a strengthening of the protected areas network to help protect the tigers.

I thought, once again, how similar the situation is between tiger and orangutans conservation. All we would need to do is to substitute the word 'tiger' with orangutan' and change the name of the scientist.

The good news is, currently there are still more orangutans than tigers left in the wild. We have more time to act/react than those trying to save tigers. The bad news is, the orangutan population appears to be declining annually at the same rate as it has done for the past 20 or so years, despite tens of millions of dollars being sent to Indonesia to protect them. I'm not for a second suggesting more money is the answer. On the contrary. I suggest what we need are more results (at the very least a slowing in the rate of orangutan population decline), more accountability and transparency. If the wild population of orangutans are not being saved and neither are their forest homes, then where does all this money go?

Where money is spent on rescuing and rehabbing orangutans we can see results. This, to me at least, is not a financial or accountability issue.

Those who criticise rescuing and rehabbing orangutans are for the most part those with the multi-million dollar budgets and little to show for the money; admittedly a few others who have never been confronted with a sick or dying orangutan would prefer instead to see money diverted to their work.

All of which leaves one wondering, will those non-rescue organisations with the multi-million dollar budgets actually save any orangutans or forests? Will they become more transparent and show us what they are achieving and at what cost?

Watch this space.