Monday, 31 May 2010

Shame on the Malaysian government

This is "Shirley", mentioned in the Press Release below. In one photo she can been smoking; in the other she is led down amongst rubbish strewn around her enclosure. There are many more photos on Facebook under Sean Whyte


PRESS RELEASE 1st June 2010

Photos of this orangutan will appear shortly on this blog.


Johor Zoo is slammed by conservationists for orangutan addicted to smoking cigarettes.

“Shirley” the adult female orangutan kept with her mate in an antiquated pit-like cage at Johor Zoo, has been allowed to become a chain-smoker. With no supervision over, or restrictions on visitors, many have been seen to throw lighted cigarettes to Shirley.

Being intelligent but bored in captivity with no natural enrichment, Shirley has learnt to imitate people smoking and now her life is in danger; but she has no way of knowing this.

Sean Whyte, CEO of Nature Alert said, “Perhilitan must immediately step in, help Shirley, and place a ban of all foreign objects being thrown into her cage. I have seen cigarettes, cans, bottles, food packets tossed into the enclosure, littering the entire area. Zoo staff need to be trained in the management of enclosures and moreover warning notices to visitors, against littering throwing cigarettes and other items to the orangutans, urgently need to be positioned around the cage before it is too late for Shirley and her mate.”

Conservationists complain that over the course of numerous under-cover visits to Johor Zoo, they never once saw a keeper in attendance anywhere near the orangutan cage. Members of the public were often seen throwing lit cigarettes to Shirley. She appears to suffer severe mood swings, sometimes looking drowsy – as if drugged, other times without a cigarette she was very agitated, looking as if she could be suffering withdrawal symptoms.

Sean Whyte continued, “We have submitted a detailed, illustrated report to Dato’ Abd Rasid Samsudin, Director General, Department of Wildlife and National Parks Peninsula Malaysia, and we call on him to take immediate action on the breaches of the Protection of Wildlife Act 1972 we have listed. The top priority must be to provide Shirley with expert veterinary help.”

This if the fifth in a series of critical zoo reports provided by Nature Alert to Dato’ Abd Rasid Samsudin. To date, only one has been even partially acted upon, leading to even greater suspicion amongst NGO’s that the department takes better care of wildlife traders - legal and illegal, as well as zoo owners. If Perhilitan will not enforce the existing law, there is no hope of the widely touted new wildlife protection law being enforced.


Malaysia has already this year attracted stinging international criticism in the prestigious National Geographic magazine for the country’s involvement in the wildlife trade.

Malaysian Zoo’s have previously been caught with illegally caught orangutans in their possession. The most recent case being of three orangutans found at Taiping Zoo; inexplicably a case, as yet, to be prosecuted.

Earlier this month as a direct result of public and NGO criticism, Perhilitan introduced a ban on the use of orangutans in circus-like shows. This ban was extended to cover the use of tigers in souvenir photo sessions such as the ones held at A’Famosa Animal World Safari.

The population of orangutans in the wild is estimated at approximately 55,000 -60,000, 75% of which live outside of protected areas and is believed to currently be declining at the rate of about 3000 animals a year. This is due loss of their habitats through the expansion of oil, palm plantations and logging activities.

Loggers and oil palm company employees kill the mother orangutan and steal the baby from her still warm chest. The babies are then sold through a black market illegal trade, often ending with them appearing in zoos in countries like Thailand or Cambodia.

For every baby orangutan which survives capture and onward shipping, experts believe another six will have died either during capture, or though injuries and ill treatment afterwards.

Nature Alert works internationally and is a leading campaign organisation against the trade in orangutans. It led the campaign in 2006 which forced Thailand to send 48 orangutans back to Indonesia. blog:

Worth thinking about.


"First they ignore you,

then they laugh at you,

then they fight you,

then you win."

- Mohandas Gandhi





Nature Alert supports ProFauna and the children of Indonesia in their appeal to John Scanlon, Secretary-General, CITES (The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) to return their orangutans from Thailand to Indonesia – from where they were stolen early in 2009.

15 months ago 11 baby orangutans, stolen from the forests of Indonesia, were found and confiscated from a private zoo in Thailand. Ever since when, the Indonesian CITES office, has been processing paperwork while these highly endangered, fully protected, wild caught orangutans sit in cages in Thailand, waiting to be returned to their natural home.

Sean Whyte, CEO Nature Alert said, “CITES has let down these orangutans, let down what their own organisation stands for, and let down the children of Indonesia. It’s a scandal and we call on CITES to return these orangutans to Indonesia - now.”

The illegal trade in baby orangutans between Indonesia and Thailand previously came to light in 2006, when only after a vigorous public campaign a Thai zoo was forced to return 48 orangutans to Indonesia. No one was ever prosecuted in Thailand then and no one has been prosecuted for being found in possession of these eleven orangutans.

Although fully protected under Indonesian law, there are no records of anyone ever being prosecuted for keeping an orangutan or killing one, even though at least 1000 have been confiscated and every year some 3000 orangutans are killed by the logging and palm oil industry.

Rosek Nursahid, Chairman of ProFauna said, “We are proud the children of Indonesia join us in our appeal to CITES Thailand and CITES Indonesia to “SEND THEM BACK HOME” For too long these 11 orangutans have suffered and we want them back in their original and rightful home, which is Indonesia, not Thailand.

For further information please see the following notes and/or contact Sean Whyte (UK) or Butet Sitohang (Indonesia)

In February 2009 11 orangutans were rescued from a private zoo in Thailand. Since then all 11 have been kept in a government compound near Bangkok. DNA tests proved conclusively these orangutans were from Indonesia. These orangutans should have been repatriated to Indonesia at least 12 months ago; the only reason they have not is because of inefficiency and complacency within CITES Indonesia (Ministry of Forestry) in particular.

CITES is the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. John Scanlon is the Secretary General of CITES. Orangutans are an Appendix 1 fully protected species and all trade is prohibited.

The population of orangutans is estimated at approximately 55,000 -60,000, 75% of which live outside of protected areas) and is believed to currently be declining at the rate of about 3000 animals a year due loss of habitat through the expansion of oil, palm plantations and logging activities.

Loggers and oil palm company employees kill the adult mother orangutan and steal the baby from her still warm chest. The babies are then sold through a black market illegal trade, often ending with them appearing in zoos in countries like Thailand or Cambodia.

For every baby orangutan which survives capture and onward shipping, experts believe another six will have died either during capture, or though injuries and ill treatment afterwards.

An orangutan rescue centre in Kalimantan has offered to accept and rehabilitate all 11 orangutans.
ProFauna, an Indonesian NGO, has been working to protect wildlife and from the illegal trade and other exploitation ever since. ProFauna efforts in protecting and saving wildlife and forests are considered as the key points to save the nature in general which eventually bring better life for human beings.

Nature Alert works internationally and is a leading campaign organisation against the trade in orangutans. It led the campaign in 2006 which forced Thailand to send 48 orangutans back to Indonesia. blog:

Sunday, 30 May 2010

President to ensure deforestation efforts work

President to ensure deforestation efforts work

Aditya Suharmoko, The Jakarta Post, Oslo Sat, 05/29/

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono himself will directly monitor the implementation of a Norway-Indonesia partnership in reducing deforestation, which includes a two-year moratorium of new concessions of forest and peat land conversion.

"I will be active in at least two things: monitoring the implementation in the field, and secondly I will ask for regular periodical from the agency in charge so I will know the progress, which if anything happens we can work it out," he told a final briefing Friday noon at Holmenkollen Park Hotel Rica in Oslo.

Attending the briefing were related ministers, governors whose provinces might become pilot projects, House of Representatives lawmakers, members of the Regional Representatives Council and rectors of the Andalas Universities and the Bogor Institute of Agriculture.

Under the partnership signed on Wednesday Indonesia will receive US$1 billion in grant from Norway to preserve its forests. The money will be paid in stages, depending on Indonesia's progress in protecting the forests.

The terms agreed upon in the partnership include capacity building, in which Indonesia will develop an oversight agency to be led by Chairman of the Presidential Working Unit for Development Monitoring and Control Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, pilot projects in some areas to be selected by Indonesia and Norway; and, finally, nationwide projects.

No money will be disbursed if Norway does not see any progress, said Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg.

Yudhoyono earlier said this partnership would not hurt the "continuation" of palm oil industry, which he said could utilize degraded land.

The President said the partnership was very important to Indonesia that he would oversee regions where the pilot projects would take place. "I will go down to the field either by helicopter or land transportation," he said.

Norway fund requires ‘BRR-like agency’

Norway fund requires ‘BRR-like agency’

Aditya Suharmoko, The Jakarta Post, Oslo Sat, 05/29/2010

Indonesia will immediately set up an agency similar to the now-defunct Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Agency (BRR) to oversee the US$1 billion fund to be provided by Norway to help reduce deforestation.

“It should be established before December,” former BRR head Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, now chairman of the Presidential Working Unit for Development Supervision and Control, said Wednesday evening in Oslo.

Earlier that day, Indonesia and Norway signed a letter of intent (LOI) to reduce deforestation in Indonesia, where forests covering the equivalent of 300 soccer fields are eradicated every hour, according to Greenpeace.

The LOI includes three major points: capacity building in which Indonesia needs to set up an agency to monitor the reduction of deforestation; pilot projects in which Indonesia and Norway will choose what forests will receive top priority; and result assessment.
President Susilo Bambang Yu-dhoyono praised Norway for assisting Indonesia in reducing defores-tation.

“With Norway’s contribution of course we can do better and achieve better results. With this we can achieve what we are aiming for,” the President said after the signing of the grant.
Norway will fully disburse the grant only if the result comes as expected. “We pay for the results, it is quite simple,” said Norway’s Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg during the signing.
Kuntoro, who is the top candidate to lead the new agency, said a BRR-esque agency could ensure such programs be effective.

“Most important is the [agency’s] head can directly report to the President and has an equivalent position to a minister to ensure any decision can be taken to the highest level,” he said.

BRR, which oversaw funds to rehabilitate Nias and Aceh after the earthquake and tsunami in 2004, is considered an effective agency in which corruption could be prevented.
President Yudhoyono stressed the central and local government should manage the grant appropriately, without “any cheating”.

Kuntoro confirmed the President’s statement, saying the signing emphasized the need for effective monitoring.

“What we need to underline is trust. The person who wants to help must be able to trust that his aid is used as designated. Such a monitoring system has been introduced to our government system by using GIS-based mapping, in which all physical projects coordinate as a basis”.

GIS stands for geographical information system, a system that captures, stores, analyzes, manages and presents data that is linked to location. It is used in cartography, remote sensing, land surveying, photogrammetry, geography, urban planning, emergency management, navigation and localized search engines.

Kuntoro said BRR used such a GIS system, which had been adopted by the government since.
He added Indonesia would learn from Brazil how to implement the system in supervising carbon emissions.

Brazil has also received a grant from Norway to reduce emissions.
Kuntoro was confident Indonesia could establish the agency within six months. “I think we need to stress in issuing regulations and preparing fund management,” he said.
Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan said Indonesia would offer forests in Papua, East Kalimantan, Riau and Jambi under an MRV mechanism. MRV stands for measurable, reportable and verifiable, meaning every ton of emission cuts will be assessed by independent auditors.
Riau has approximately 700,000 hectares of forests and Jambi 100,000 hectares, said Zulkifli. He did not mention the scale of forests in Papua and East Kalimantan.

Mo Constantine's innovation: finding an alternative to palm oil

Mo Constantine's innovation: finding an alternative to palm oil


SBY vows direct oversight of Norway-financed projects

SBY vows direct oversight of Norway-financed projects


EU MP's Impressed With Palm Oil Industry'sContribution To Malaysia's Wealth And Economic Growth

EU MP's Impressed With Palm Oil Industry'sContribution To Malaysia's Wealth And Economic Growth

By Tengku Noor Shamsiah Tengku AbdullahKUALA LUMPUR, May 30 (Bernama) -- European Union (EU) Members of Parliament (MPs) are impressed with the palm oil industry's contribution towards creating wealth and economic growth for Malaysia.Danish MP Dan Jorgensen, who is Vice-Chairman of the Environment Committee and Member of the Group of Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament said: "We think palm oil has contributed towards creating wealth and the growth of the country."As a whole, I think, it has helped take people out of poverty, which is a very positive thing.

"The challenge now is the sustainability of the commodity.Even though progress has been made, there is still the possibility of becoming better in this area," he said after a Stakeholder Roundtable Discussion on Issues Related to Biodiversity and the Sustainability of Malaysian Palm Oil here last Friday.Jorgensen was on a week-long visit to Malaysia together with two other EU MPs, Martin J. Callanan (Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety) and Ole K Christensen (Member of the ACP-EU Committee).

Also present at the roundtable was Malaysia's Ambassador to the EU Datuk Hussein Haniff and Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC) Chief Executive Officer Tan Sri Dr Yusof Basiron.Jorgensen said the next decade would continue to see an increase in the focus on sustainability, as a competition criteria on the global stage, whether for fuel food or any other commodity.

"We also think that from the sustainability point of view, palm oil has great potential compared to other oils," he added.Many have voiced concerned concern over the new sustainability criteria in the European Union (EU) Renewable Energy Directive (RED), due to come into force from Dec 5 this year and its impact on palm oil exporting countries like Malaysia.On that matter, Jorgensen expressed the willingness of MPs to assist Malaysia in ensuring there is no discrimination against the country's palm oil export to the region."Firstly, we do not want any discrimination at all of the palm oil sector.

We have promised our friends in the industry here to help them in discussions that we have in the EU on different criteria."If there has been any discrimination, we will do everthing possible to change it."Secondly, we are at the same time, very committed to the sustainability criteria," he explained.

The sustainability criteria is related to two issues, the lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions of biofuels and the land used to produce the biofuels.During their stay in Malaysia, the MPs had the opportunity to visit the Felda Trolak land scheme.According to Jorgensen, the Malaysian palm oil industry can help itself by making the issues surrounding it irrelevant, by starting to trap the methane in the mills."It is already being done in some mills. If it was done in general and there was legislation for this, it would help.

But this is just a recommendation," he said.Christensen also noted that in many parts of western Europe, there was the perception that palm oil is a bad thing because rainforests' are being destroyed in order to make way for plantations."That's what many people believe.So, we are very gratified to get assurances here, that Malaysia has very strict laws in place to ensure no more forests are destroyed," he said.He also said that it was a challenge to get this point of view across to a lot of western audiences.

When asked whether if the RED would affect Malaysian palm oil exports to the EU, Callanan said in the short term, the new directive would not.He said this was because the amount of Malaysian palm oil used for biofuel is very small.Callanan said only 18 per cent of Malaysia's palm oil exports actually go to the EU."Obviously, we understand your concerns that the EU legislation might spread to other countries that Malaysia exports to.But only two per cent of palm oil is used for biofuels," he added.-- BERNAM

Saturday, 29 May 2010

Palm oil industry safe from forest moratorium

Palm oil industry safe from forest moratorium

Aditya Suharmoko, The Jakarta Post, Oslo Sat, 05/29/2010

Existing palm oil contracts will be exempt from a two-year moratorium on new concessions to clear the nation’s natural forests and peatlands, says President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

In a historic agreement with Norway, Indonesia pledged to support a two-year moratorium on new concessions that permit conversion of virgin forests and peatlands into plantations.

In exchange, Indonesia will receive a US$1 billion grant from Norway to reduce deforestation in the country.

Indonesia is also required to establish a special team to oversee the disbursement of the fund.
The moratorium has raised questions about the expansion of palm oil businesses in Indonesia, which, together with Malaysia, account for almost 90 percent of the world’s palm oil production.

Yudhoyono said palm oil plantation companies could continue their businesses in Indonesia.
“We have a policy to use degraded land ... for the continuation of the palm oil industry in Indonesia,” he said in a joint press conference with Norway’s Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg at Holmenkollen Park Hotel Rica during the Oslo Climate and Forest Conference.

Yudhoyono said he would ensure that the palm oil industry could continue business-as-usual while the nation’s forests would be protected.

“[There is] degraded land that can be utilized for agriculture, including palm oil,” the President said.

The countries involved pledged to provide US$4 billion between 2010 and 2012 to preserve the world’s forests.

That amount reflects an increase from $3.5 billion originally pledged in Copenhagen in December 2010, Stoltenberg said during the conference.

“There was [also] a new commitment from Denmark during this meeting,” Stoltenberg said. He did not provide a specific figure for the commitment.

Germany also pledged 350 million euros ($371 million) to support the commitment, said Stoltenberg. Other major contributors included the US, Norway, France, the United Kingdom and Japan, he added.

He said the money would come from the Norwegian government’s budget, but he expected that the private sector could contribute up to $30 million by 2012.

Developed countries’ large budget deficits after the 2008 global financial crisis and the current euro debt crisis would limit public sector contributions, he said.

However, businessmen such as financier George Soros and Microsoft founder Bill Gates had expressed interest in contributing, said Stoltenberg.

“There is no way to get the money without mobilizing the private sector, ” he said.
Money might also be mobilized by other means, including carbon pricing, carbon taxes, emissions trading and charges on air tickets and maritime transportation, he added.
Yudhoyono said Indonesia expected to reduce emissions by 26 percent in 2020 with its own resources, or by 41 percent with international support.

The President and his entourage arrived in Oslo on Wednesday. He left Norway on Friday and is scheduled to arrive in Jakarta on Saturday morning.

Greenpeace lauds SBY’s forest, peatland moratorium

Greenpeace lauds SBY’s forest, peatland moratorium

Dicky Christanto, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta Sat, 05/29/2010

Greenpeace praised President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s commitment to a moratorium on forest-and peatland clearance in Indonesia, after he recently concluded negotiations in Oslo for a billion dollar carbon-emission reduction agreement with Norway.

“We expect that he will immediately impose a presidential decree that will stop all forest and peatland conversion and include both existing and new concession permits,” Bustar Maitar, the international environmental group’s Southeast Asia Forest team leader, said in a press release dated Friday.

Yudhoyono had announced his commitment to the two-year moratorium at a joint press conference with Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, which was conducted ahead of the signing of the US$1 billion deal between Indonesian and Norwegian governments in Oslo. The program aims to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD).
Indonesia has lost more than 60 percent of its natural forests. A two-year moratorium is a great start for Indonesia’s goal of reducing carbon emissions by 41 percent, said independent reports.

Greenpeace activist Yuyun Indradi said the commitment must be followed by regulations that would guarantee transparency and development of a participatory mechanism when the moratorium is implemented.

“Regulations must be developed so that funds flow in the right direction, and to safeguard and protect biodiversity and the rights of indigenous people,” Indradi said.

Stoltenberg said that funds would be disbursed using the Brazilian model, which finances projects based on progress and results.

Implementation monitoring will be key to verifying if grant money can be disbursed, Stoltenberg added.

Gregorio Budi Indarto from the Civil Society Forum said that no forest concession permits had been issued since Zulkifli Hasan took office as forestry minister at the end of 2009, he told The Jakarta Post.

However, the main question is how can the government stop forest exploitation by thousands of people who were given permits after bribing government officials before Zulkilfi’s tenure, he said.

The two-year moratorium would mean very little without effort to stop illegal exploitation, he added.

“It is one of many political gimmicks offered by the current administration to win the hearts of people and the international community.”

Budi said the public had not yet seen a serious effort from the government to combat illegal logging. Reports show that people arrested for illegal logging have frequently been acquitted or given lenient punishment by district courts. If courts did issue severe judgements, follow-up actions were usually lacking, he said.

Budi cited the case of former Pelalawan regent Tengku Azmun Jaafar, who was sentenced to 11 years imprisonment and ordered to pay Rp 500 million ($54,000) in fines after a bribery case regarding illegal forest exploitation permits in Pelalawan, Riau.

Permits issued by Jaafar were not revoked after the regent was sentenced due to government indecisiveness about exploitation, he said.

“Law enforcement stopped at Jaafar’s trial and we haven’t heard that the government has stopped those companies’ operations,” he added.

Friday, 28 May 2010

Worth thinking about.

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."

Martin Luther King, jr.


Governments commit USD 4 billion for forest and climate protection

Governments commit USD 4 billion for forest and climate protection

Indonesian President announces moratorium on new concessions for forest destruction

Oslo, 27 May 2010 -- Welcoming today's announcement by seven wealthy nations that they will provide USD 4 billion to help avert runaway climate change by preventing deforestation (1), responsible for up to a fifth of global greenhouse gas emissions, (2) Greenpeace warned that the critical question of how the funds will be spent remains unanswered.

Greenpeace also considers the Indonesian President Yudhoyono's announcement, made at the Oslo conference on climate and forests, of a two year moratorium on issuing new concessions for forest and peatland destruction to be a first step towards Indonesia meeting its greenhouse gas emission reduction targets of 41%. Such a moratorium was a precondition of the USD 1 billion deal with Norway. However, deforestation will continue unabated unless the moratorium is extended to cover existing permits, not just new ones and is put into action immediately, not months from now.

“Indonesia has taken a step in the right direction but before the ink on this agreement dries, the millions of hectares of our country's forests and carbon rich peatlands that have already been allocated for destruction must be included in this moratorium for it to have any real and positive impact on the ground. This step must also be turned into a Presidential Decree with immediate effect,” said Yuyun Indradi, Political Advisor Greenpeace Southeast Asia.

Today’s funding deal signals the first major international support for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD), since the ill-fated UN Copenhagen Climate Conference last December.

“These and future forest funds must be spent responsibly on measures that protect intact and other natural forests, including peatlands, because preventing their destruction has the greatest potential for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Protection plans should also be country-wide because small individual projects can disrupt communities and merely push destructive industries to other parts of the forest,” said Susanne Breitkopf, Greenpeace International forest campaigner. (3)

Greenpeace warns that REDD can only be successful if strong safeguards are established to protect biodiversity and if indigenous people’s rights are included. It also warns against the funds being used to subsidise the logging and agri-business industries under the guise of so-called “sustainable forest management”.

Notes to Editors:(1) The countries that have committed funds are: Norway, Germany, US, UK, Australia, Japan, France.
(2) Calculated from: IPCC (2007). IPCC Fourth Assessment Report, Working Group III, Final Chapter 1. Page 104. Figure 1.2: Sources of global CO2 emissions, 1970-2004 (only direct emissions by sector). Greenpeace expects countries to agree to a multilateralagreement that: (a) Enshrines Key Principles and Safeguards for REDD (b) Establishes a Coordinating Body for All Interim REDD Activities and (c) Promotes Gross Reductions in National-level Deforestation Emissions. See:

New agency to curb deforestation ready by December

New agency to curb deforestation ready by December


RI to honor palm oil contracts despite forest protection

RI to honor palm oil contracts despite forest protection

Ikea joins Forest Legality Alliance to curb illegal logging

Ikea joins Forest Legality Alliance to curb illegal logging


Countries agree to spend big to save world's forests

Countries agree to spend big to save world's forests


Australia urged to ban illegal timber imports

Australia urged to ban illegal timber imports

Amazing how a country like Australia has to be persuaded to ban something which is illegal.

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Procter & Gamble Gives Vendors a Sustainability...

Procter & Gamble Gives Vendors a Sustainability...


Mamee-Double Decker budgets RM20mil for planting in Indonesia

Mamee-Double Decker budgets RM20mil for planting in Indonesia


Prince Charles brokers $1bn deal to save Indonesian rainforests

Personal note: This looks to be encouraging, but I would urge caution until we see the detail of the Agreement and IF Indonesia will keep their side of the deal - historically they never have.

Prince Charles brokers $1bn deal to save Indonesian rainforests


Charles urges unity on rainforests

Charles urges unity on rainforests


Indonesia puts moratorium on new forest clearing

Indonesia puts moratorium on new forest clearing


Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Despite Permits, Indonesia Gives 2 French Journalists the Boot

May 26, 2010

Ismira Lutfia & Nurfika Osman Jakarta Globe

Despite Permits, Indonesia Gives 2 French Journalists the Boot

Two French journalists who supposedly violated their visas were deported back to France on Wednesday after being detained in Jayapura, Papua.

Baudouin Koenig, who has been in Indonesia since April 26 for a documentary film project, told the Jakarta Globe that he had all the necessary permits to work on the project in Indonesia and that he has been shooting in other parts of Indonesia for “the biggest documentary film ever made on Indonesia by French television” about the democratization process in the country.

He said the film would be broadcast on the Franco-German television network, Arte.

Koenig questioned the Jayapura immigration office’s reasons for arresting him and his colleague, Carole Lorthiois.

“I completely complied with all the rules and have all the necessary documents,” Koenig said, adding that he had a valid journalist’s visa and a foreign journalist’s press card issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“It took me one month to get the journalist’s card from the ministry,” he said, adding that since their arrival his team has been filming in Aceh and parts of Sumatra and Kalimantan.

Koenig said they hadn’t finished their work. “We were supposed to stay for two more weeks and to go to Bali, Sulawesi and to have some interviews in Jakarta,” he said.

State news agency Antara reported that the pair had obtained a permit for filming in Sorong, West Papua, but not Jayapura. They were detained while taking footage of a protest rally in front of the Regional Legislative Council (DPRD).

Teuku Faizasyah, spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said that the French journalists breached their reporting permit.

“They should not have covered an event or theme outside the coverage permit,” Faizasyah told the Jakarta Globe. “This is basically the immigration department’s issue.”

Koenig said, “I had no intention to go to the mountains to meet with rebels or anything like that.”

Antara said Koenig was a producer for a Paris-based production company, Mano a Mano, while Lorthiois was working with him as a sound assistant on the project. They were said to be filming a documentary called “Indonesia Tomorrow.”

TDM to expand land holding in Kalimantan

TDM to expand land holding in Kalimantan

New Straits Times, May 22, 2010 by June Ramlee

TDM Bhd, a plantation group owned by the Terengganu state government, plans to expand its land area in Kalimantan, Indonesia, in the next seven to nine years.

The chairman of the group, Senator Datuk Roslan Awang Chik, said the company now has a total of 25,000ha in Kalimantan for oil palm plantation and plans to increase it by 80 per cent.
"In Malaysia, we find that land is scarce and that is why we are venturing out and the best place to do that is in Kalimantan and we plan to double the size in the next seven to nine years," Roslan told a press conference in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday.

The company also has 32,000ha in Terengganu.
Among its other operations, TDM is building new hospitals. The latest hospital the company is building is at Indera Mahkota in Kuantan, Pahang, for RM200 million, which will be completed in 2012.

Meanwhile, the company is still looking for a buyer for its poultry business.
"We are not looking to dispose of it immediately as we are looking for a suitable buyer, whom the farmers can work with. Right now we have at least four parties who are interested to buy over the business," Roslan said.

Earlier, the company reported that its first quarter net profit surged 89 per cent to RM55.9 million this year. This was mainly due to higher yields from its oil palm plantation business.
Copyright 2010

Malaysia to probe Sime Darby overruns

Malaysia to probe Sime Darby overruns


Department stops animal shows at resort

Personal note: This is a direct result of complaints and emails from Nature Alert supporters.The ban applies to all Malaysian zoos, and we will be checking. We know the governments own Melaka Zoo has stopped its shows and all souvenir photography sessions with the public.

Department stops animal shows at resort

2010/05/26 New Straits Times, Malaysia

ALOR GAJAH: The Wildlife and National Parks Department has issued a directive to a popular resort here to cease animal shows following allegations of abuse of the animals which were posted on the Internet and video recorded on YouTube.

State director Abdul Rahim Othman said department officials had met with the management of A'Famosa Resort last month to discuss and resolve the matter.

He said the allegations of abuse, especially of the tigers which are categorised as endangered, had given a bad impression of the resort and the practice had to be stopped before it got out of hand.

"The public has a negative perception of the issue as a result of the allegations and comments on YouTube and various websites.

"The management understood the gravity of the problem and had complied with the directive," he said yesterday.

Rahim said recent checks by the department showed there were no animal shows or photography sessions involving tigers, adding that if visitors came across such abuse they should immediately alert the department.

The alleged abuse of a tiger during a show at the resort was highlighted by a New Straits Times reader in the Letters section on Monday.

Anisa Nishat Mohamed Ismail claimed she had watched a video of a tiger that appeared drugged "or so tired it could not even hold its head upright".

She said it was a horrifying spectacle and showed the staff's total disregard for the majestic animal and was a slap in the face for Malaysia's conservation efforts.

A'Famosa, however, denied the reports of abuse of the tiger, or any others animals under its care.

General manager Allan Chee said contrary to the claims, the tiger, recorded on You-Tube, was not drugged, but captive-bred and was very tame and comfortable around humans.

"The tiger is healthy and fine. It was not drugged during the photography session.

"Tigers are nocturnal, and those kept here are well fed and are lazy and lethargic during the mid-morning," he said.

To prove that the resort also participates in conservation efforts, it is inviting animal lovers and observers to see the condition and state of the animals at the resort.

"We are inviting animal lovers and conservation groups to participate in our 'Free & Easy Tour of the Animal World Safari'.

"See for yourselves the operation of our park, as well as the condition and state of all the animals in the resort," said a posting on A'Famosa's Facebook account.

Protest At TradeMe HQ Against Sales Of Rainforest Timber

Protest At TradeMe HQ Against Sales Of Rainforest Timber


M’sia may take EU directive on palm oil to WTO

Personal note: The palm oil industry still in denial and blaming everyone else for exposing them. In case you don't already know, many Malaysian palm oil companies also operate in Indonesia.


Wednesday May 26, 2010

M’sia may take EU directive on palm oil to WTO

By HANIM ADNAN The Star, Malaysia

KOTA KINABALU: Malaysia has no qualms about taking the discriminatory EU Renewable Energy Directive (EU RED) requirements for palm oil usage as biofuel to the World Trade Organisation, said Malaysian Palm Oil Council chief executive officer Tan Sri Yusof Basiron.
“This is no joke but we will have to wait and cannot act on it now as the EU RED will only be implemented as national legislation by the year-end,” he told local and foreign participants on the last day of the International Palm Oil Sustainability Conference yesterday.

Yusof said the proposed directive had not only affected palm oil exports into Europe but also disrupted the business of European biodiesel producers planning to use palm oil as feedstock for their biofuel production.

He said palm oil greenhouse gas emission default values were severely misrepresented to disqualify palm oil from being used as approved biofuel in the European Union (EU).
Earlier, Yusof suggested the palm oil industry introduce new sets of sustainability certifications, such as the Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil and the Indonesian Sustainable Palm Oil, as alternatives if the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) certification is unacceptable to the EU and the United States.

“Many Malaysian and Indonesian palm oil producers have to endure the rigourous and expensive certification to produce certified sustainable palm oil (CSPO) for the EU market but the uptake of the premium product is still dissappointing,” he added.

Currently, about one million tonnes of RSPO-certified palm oil is readily available in the world market, he said, adding: “However, I believe only 200,000 to 300,000 tonnes of the premium CSPO were taken up by Western consumers.”

Apart from being the victim of the continuous attacks from Western environment NGOs, Yusof said: “Palm oil will need to comply with the certifications set by Germany and the US, apart from the EU RED requirements for biofuel usage in Europe.”

He said it was unfair for palm oil not to be given the rights to trade on fair grounds and had to be singled out for sustainability compliance while other competing oils were not subjected to similar poor treatment.

“Developed nations must be fair to developing countries which depend on palm oil to raise their income levels. They should employ fair trading mechanisms and legislations.”

Jakarta, Kalimantan the most polluted areas: Govt index

Jakarta, Kalimantan the most polluted areas: Govt index

Adianto P. Simamora, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta Wed, 05/26/2010

Jakarta and Kalimantan are the most polluted regions in the country, according an environmental quality index issued by the Environment Ministry.

The index, which will be officially announced in commemoration of World Environmental Day on June 5, shows that most provinces fared poorly with regards to the environment.
“I am dissatisfied with the poor quality of the environment with an average score of only 59.79,” Environment Minister Gusti Muhammad Hatta said.

“The poor quality of water put Jakarta and Kalimantan at the bottom of the index.”
The ministry assessed pollution levels in the air and water and the total forest coverage in 28 provinces between 2006 and 2009.

Bangka Belitung, West Sulawesi, North Maluku, West Papua and Riau Island were excluded from the study.

“As these are new provinces, we don’t have adequate data on water, air quality and forest coverage,” Nursiwan Taqim, the ministry’s deputy assistant in charge of the assessment, told The Jakarta Post on Tuesday.

He said Bali, North Sulawesi and West Sumatra topped the index. “But 17 provinces scored lower than national average of 59.79,” he said.

The index uses a scale of zero to 100. A high score indicates better environmental quality.
The government has long been under pressure to address environmental degradation that has been blamed for aggravating natural disaster including droughts, floods and landslides.
The 2008 environmental report stated that the quality of air, water and rivers across the coun-
try declined due to poor law enforcement.

Most local administrations also failed to allot at least 30 percent of their areas as green spaces for the public.

Gusti said that in Kalimantan, the presence of large illegal mines with poor waste water management caused a decline in the quality of water in the island.

“The massive palm oil plantations allegedly use chemical fertilizers that also contributed to water pollution in Kalimantan,” he said.

To commemorate World Environmental Day, president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono will give out environmental awards to individuals and the cleanest cities in the country.

The ministry’s deputy for communications and public empowerment, Henry Bastaman, said the President would provide 12 Kalpataru awards this year from the 282 nominees.

The Kalpataru is awarded to people or communities that have contributed to the preservation and improvement of the environment. So far, 264 people have received the award.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono would also hand over Adipura awards to the cleanest cities in the country. Jakarta has previously won the award.

HEINZ and palm oil

Letter from Heinz to a supporter

Thank you very much for your enquiry.

As a socially responsible global food company dedicated to the sustainable health of people and the planet, Heinz is taking action to ensure that our Company uses only 100% certified sustainable palm oil by 2013.

You may be interested to know that Heinz is preparing to announce a Global Sustainable Palm Oil initiative to reduce our Company’s palm oil usage by 25 to 30% and convert to 100% certified sustainable palm oil. Heinz expects to announce these plans this summer. We are aiming to deliver the usage reductions within the next year and complete the transition to 100% certified palm oil by 2013.

Heinz is a member of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), an association formed in 2004 to promote the growth and use of sustainable oil palm products through credible global standards and the engagement of stakeholders. As an RSPO member, Heinz is a relatively small user of palm oil.

We are currently committed to buying palm oil exclusively from suppliers who are RSPO members and ascribe to the association’s principles.

In addition to our sustainable palm oil plan, Heinz launched a global sustainability initiative in 2008 to achieve a 20% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, energy consumption, solid waste and water consumption by 2015. As we disclosed in our 2009 CSR Report, Heinz is making excellent progress in these categories and we are on track to achieve our environmental goals.

Yours sincerely

Geoff Kearsley
Consumer Care Co-ordinator

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Thought for the day

Only if we know can we understand.

Only if we understand can we care.

Only if we care can we help.

Only if we help shall they survive.

Sparks fly in City Farm timber row

Sparks fly in City Farm timber row


RSPO To Contract Out Accreditation Of CSPO To ASI

May 25, 2010

RSPO To Contract Out Accreditation Of CSPO To ASI
From Durga Varma

KOTA KINABALU, May 25 (Bernama) -- The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), in a move to segregate functions, will soon contract Accreditation Services International (ASI) of Germany as an accreditation agency to take over the functions of awarding certification for sustainable crude palm oil, its Secretary-General Dr Vengeta Rao said Tuesday.

He said "there has to be separation of powers" as the RSPO cannot be "writing and policing" the accreditation process.

Speaking to reporters, after presenting a paper at the end of the two-day International Palm Oil Sustainability Conference here today, he said a pilot project would be carried out soon and within one-and-a-half years from now, this would become a reality.

He also said this would be a significant development as more segments within the palm oil industry were coming on board to seek certification and the latest to join the bandwagon were retailers.

"From an average of between four and five applications a month in 2008, the RSPO is now receiving between 10 and 15 applications, monthly.

"The volume of Certified Sustainable Palm Oil (CSPO) is also on the rise and it will reach two million tonnes in June," he said, adding that CSPO was the single largest certified crop available.

Vengeta Rao also said the volume was expected to increase to 2.5 million tonnes by year end, based on the intention expressed by producers, traders and retailers to certify palm oil to meet European Union's requirements.

He added offtake of CSPO was also improving and as January, supply and demand almost matched.

RSPO, with 328 ordinary members to date, is an association carrying out their activities in and around the entire supply chain for palm oil, to promote the growth and use of sustainable palm oil through co-operation open dialogue with its stakeholders.

Vengeta Rao added that the organisation was also looking into how smallholders, including cooperatives and independent millers, can be brought into the mainstream of certification and how to support them financially in the process.

Meanwhile, Ramesh Vello, the planting advisor with Tradewinds Plantation Bhd, told delegates peat soil was a precious commodity and its conservation and development should be equally treated as an essential part of land use in the state.

The company was the largest investor from Peninsular Malaysia to invest in the state, having developed 75,000 hectares, todate.

He said shortage of good land resources in Malaysia had forced agriculture , particularly oil palm cultivation into marginal soil including peat soil in Sarawak.

Peat swamp forest were recently acknowledged as an ecosystem with a unique capacity to store high levels of carbon.

Ramesh pointed out that those wanting to develop peat soil for palm oil cultivation must adopt a strategy of being selective and practice zero burning in order to conserve the environment.

Back Top

Malaysia introducing tough new wildlife laws

Personal note: It would make for a refreshing change if Malaysia was to enforce even its existing wildlife law.
Malaysia introducing tough new wildlife laws

Govt to use Norwegian aid to save peatland forests

Govt to use Norwegian aid to save peatland forests

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 00:16 WIB Environment Jakarta (ANTARA News) -

The government plans to direct climate change aid committment from Norway worth US$1 billion for saving peatland forests in Sumatra, Kalimantan and Papua, Gusti M Hatta said.

"We will direct it for saving peatland forests and it will be discussed with governors. We are made more optimistic by the aid," the environment minister said here on Monday.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono plans to go to Oslo, Norway on May 27 to attend an international conference on climate change and forests to be attended by representatives from dozens of countries.

Along with Norway prime minister, Jens Stoltenberg, the Indonesian president would lead the conference which would discuss mechanism for reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD) in developing countries.

The conference is aimed at facilitating voluntary partnership between advanced countries and developing countries that have tropical forests with regard to implementing the REDD with a total committment worth US$3.5 billion.

Besides discussing further the Copenhagen meeting that pledged US$3.5 billion for developing countries for 2010 to 2011, Indonesia would also sign a letter of intent with Norway for US$1 billion in climate change funding.

"So far many have already committed to extending climate change funds such as from the US, Japan, Australia, Britain, France and Germany but none of it has been realized," he said.

He said his side had already sought confirmation about it from Australia hoping the aid could be enjoyed by people living around the forests up to 50 percent while only 10 percent would go to the central government and the rest to regions possessing forests.

Regarding the new executive secretary for UN Climate Change Convention (UNFCCC), Christiana Figueres, replacing Yvo de Boer, the minister`s expert staff, Liana Bratasida, said that she is quite good.

"Christiana is from Costa Rica and an environment figure from a developing country in Latin America and therefore will understand fully what the developing countries will need," she said.(*)

Saving forests to maintain biodiversity

Saving forests to maintain biodiversity

Adianto P. Simamora, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta Tue, 05/25/2010

Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan said his office would restore 300,000 hectares of damaged forest per year to maintain biodiversity, which has come under serious threat from deforestation and development.

Minister Zulkifli has issued permits to restore 200,000 hectares of damaged forest in Sumatra and East Kalimantan this year.

“We will also focus on enforcing the law on the illegal trade of species or illicit forest conversion in protected and conservation areas,” he told reporters at celebrations of the International Year of Biodiversity in Jakarta on Monday.

“We hope the huge restoration program can revitalize the previous function of the forest and preserve its biodiversity,” he said.

He said the ministry would prioritize increasing the population of endangered species over the next four years.

“We admit the threats of biodiversity loss are still very high due to among others, economic development, deforestation and forest degradation,” he said.

He said the restoration in Sumatra could protect falling numbers of Sumatran tigers, elephants, orangutans and rhinoceroses.

The three-day celebration of the International Biodiversity Year was jointly organized by the Forestry Ministry and a German-based organization, GTZ.

The minister also launched a national action plan for protected areas, which will be used as a basis for conservation management to promote sustainable development in the country.

The document was drafted by the government and a group of NGOs including WWF Indonesia, Burung Indonesia, Flora Fauna Indonesia, the Nature Conservancy and Conservation International.

The action plan is also aimed at meeting the government’s commitment under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) to allocate protected areas both in terrestrial and maritime areas.
The government plans to establish some 10 million hectares of protected marine area in 2010 and 20 million hectares in 2020.

The action plan highlights that Indonesia has 500 protected areas with a total 36 million hectares, in both terrestrial and marine areas.

The document outlines actions needed to protect biodiversity, including monitoring systems, capacity building and the management of conservation areas.

Indonesia has 12 percent (515 species) of the world’s mammals, the second-highest level after Brazil, and 17 percent (1,531 species) of the total species of birds, the fifth-highest number in the world.

The country is also home to 15 percent (270 species) of amphibians and reptiles, 31,746 species of vascular plants and 37 percent of the world’s species of fish.

The director general of forest protection and nature conservation Darori, said the financial value of biodiversity could be higher than the price of wood products.

He said the government would promote breeding systems to increase populations of species that could be traded under international agreements.

“A number of countries such as China and Taiwan plan to import up to 1 million geckos per year, but we can only provide 100,000. So the demand is still high,” he said.

A scientist at the Nature Conservancy, Wahjudi Wardoyo, said the government needed to apply “development by design” to protect biodiversity.

“Economic development should continue but it must be designed with biodiversity in mind,” said Wahjudi, a former director general of forest protection and nature conservation.

M'sia unhappy with EU green directive for palm oil

M'sia unhappy with EU green directive for palm oil


Boost to Sabah wildlife centre

Boost to Sabah wildlife centre


Orang utan not under threat, says Dompok

Personal note: I only post articles like these to enable you to see what nonsense the palm oil industry promotes. They would like to try and persuade you to believe all the photos, news articles etc showing the impact of palm oil on wildlife and forests is all a figment of your imagination.

Orang utan not under threat, says Dompok

Local palm oil industry initiates mega wild life sanctuary

Personal note: Palm oil industry buying itself some desperately needed improved publicity.

--------------------- ------------------------

Local palm oil industry initiates mega wild life sanctuary

How the Palm Oil Trade Causes a Food Chain of Destruction

How the Palm Oil Trade Causes a Food Chain of Destruction

Monday, 24 May 2010

Indonesian Palm Oil Producers Put Faith in Govt Standards

Personal note:

The governments way of trying not to comply with the RSPO.


KL, Jakarta fight EU directive on palm oil

KL, Jakarta fight EU directive on palm oil

Social media can help save the planet, says Greenpeace boss -

Social media can help save the planet, says Greenpeace boss -

Rare species of mammals in Sabah under threat of extinction, says Masidi

Rare species of mammals in Sabah under threat of extinction, says Masidi

• News
2010-05-24 15:46

KOTA KINABALU, May 24 (Bernama) -- Rare species of mammals in Sabah are under threat of extinction, State Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment Datuk Masidi Manjun said today.

He named the Sumatran rhinoceros, the elephant, the Bornean orangutan, the sun bear and the proboscis monkey as some of these animals.

Only around 30 to 40 of the Sumatran rhinoceros, considered one of the world's rarest mammals, were probably left in fragmented populations in the forests of Sabah, he said in his speech at the International Palm Oil Sustainability Conference, here.

The text of his speech was delivered by State Assistant Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment Datuk Ellron Angin.

"In some cases, there is probably only one rhino in a whole forest reserve. If urgent steps are not taken to rescue and consolidate these fragmented populations, our generation may be the last one to see wild rhinos alive in Sabah," Masidi said.

Masidi said the number of elephants, the smallest of all Asian elephants and one of the rarest of their sub-species with a total population of around 1,500 to 2,000, was also dwindling.
He said they faced heavy conflicts with humans, being in groups in pocketed areas, mostly near the newly-opened estates, and the fragmentation of their habitat due to forest conversion further compounded their problems.

"This is crucial in cases where animals are confined to pockets and habitat is no longer available and sources of food are limited or no longer suitable," he said.

Masidi said the charismatic and endemic Bornean orangutan (pongo pygmaeus morio), though numbering around 11,000, was down by an astounding 90 per cent of the population in less than 200 years.

"Again the major culprit of that reduction is loss and fragmentation of habitat. Rescue and translocation of the species has become an urgent matter to maintain the genetic flow among isolated populations, thus preventing inbreeding and further localised extinction of this great ape," he said.

Masidi said many villagers were found to be capturing and keeping the sun bear while there had been recent cases of the proboscis monkeys moving into urban areas and being killed in road accidents.

He also said that there were a myriad other wildlife species which were brought to the department with injuries that needed professional veterinary medical care.

Masidi said that from the initial orangutan colloquium, jointly organised by Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC), the Sabah Wildlife Department and the Borneo Conservation Trust in November last year, efforts were initiated which had culminated in the setting up of Malaysia's dedicated Wildlife Rescue Unit.

He said the unit would be responsible for undertaking wildlife rescue and translocation operations throughout the state of Sabah.

MySinchew 2010.05.24

United Biscuits

Reply received by a supporter:

United Biscuits has in the last 4 years reduced the amount of Palm oil that we use by over 40%. We have an ongoing programme to reduce this further but will continue as a user of Palm oil. Where we continue to use Palm oil, we are seeking to do this by segregated sustainable means.

This means that the oil in our products will be traceable back to a sustainable plantation. We started to use sustainable oil last year and with our new partner will convert 75% of all of our Palm oil to sustainable oil during the summer of 2010. We have a stated target to convert the remaining volume by the end of 2011.

Obviously we will not wait for the end of 2011 to convert our remaining supplies. These are specialist materials that we are not able to get at present, however, we are confident that our suppliers will be able to supply most of these ahead of our deadline and hopeful that some will also convert in 2010.

Sue GibsonConsumer Services Co-ordinator

ORANGUTANS: The shows and the exploitation have been stopped.

As I recently mentioned, thanks to our letter writing campaign the use of orangutans in circus-like shows at Malaysian zoos, has been banned. The government also banned the use of bears in such shows and the use of tigers as photo-props for people to sit beside and have their photos taken. All of which is excellent news for the animals.

Subsequently, I wrote to the same Ministry explaining the cruelty involved with the use of orangutans as photo-props at the Melaka Zoo in Malaysia. There is also in such situations the high risk of mutual disease transmission.

Although the Ministry has yet to respond formally to my letter, our investigator returned to the Melaka Zoo last weekend and noted there were no orangutan
shows and no use of orangutans as photo-props.

Nature Alert supporters are to be congratulated for helping put a stop to all this cruelty.....something no mainstream orangutan charity was prepared to help with.

Sunday, 23 May 2010


I am now on Facebook where many more photos are gradually being added - because it is simpler to do on Facebook than on this blog!

Saturday, 22 May 2010

Orangutans on death row

Believe it or not 11 orangutans have lived in these cages for up to two years.
This is at the Sinka Zoo in NW Kalimantan, close to the border with Sarawak.
The worst sight I have ever seen, and in my time I've seen some horrific things done to animals. When I was there in February we did all we could at the time, providing fresh fruit and water. Since when, I have done all in my power to get help for these orangutans, but failed
so far. And last week I heard three of these poor orangutans have since died. I don't think anything has ever upset me so much.
The zoo has no vet and no curator, just a regular guy doing what he can and what he thinks is necessary for the animals.
There are many worse, close up photos, which I don't think I should show you.

Another 'prisioner' at deaths door.

When I took the photo of the cages above, laid out behind me in stifling heat and humidity was this Siamang gibbon. I was told it had been in a fight with another gibbon and was bitten. The guy in charge had to telephone a vet a hundred miles away for advice. How any treatment was administered I dread to think. I suspect this gibbon would have died soon after.

Another orangutan waiting to be rescued.

Now you can see why I don't include many (this is only the second in three years) photos of myself! This was at the end of a long hot day in NW Kalimantan in March. After a riverboat trip we found "Mely", a lovely orangutan which has been chained up (see photos in sidebar) for many years.

We are hopeful "Mely" will soon be taken to a rescue centre. As I have said before, no one but the Forestrey Department are permitted to rescue orangutans, and they are rather less than enthusiastic about doing so.

Orangutans in need of rescuing

Awaiting rescue in NW Kalimantan.
Living in these cages with almost no shade from the sun and NO protection from the rain or sometimes cool nights. It's been this way for these two for 3-4 years.

When Around Orang Utans

Personal note: This post below is very encouraging.

For a while now I have been encouraging such guidelines and restrictions - long overdue at Camp Leakey, some refer to as an orangutan circus. If you visit orangutans anywhere in the wild and you see people behaving badly, please let us know and even send photos.

Especially if you visit Camp Leakey in central Borneo, where in the past one or more orangutans have become alcoholics from beer given to them by stupid tourists. You will know when you arrive at Camp Leakey as an adult orangutan will probably be washing its hands with soap, of all things, at the waters edge. So. How does a 'wild' orangutan get hold of soap?

At least one other orangutan has taken up smoking cigarettes; all this at a place I asked the Orangutan Foundation (OF) a year or more ago to introduce guidelines and restrictions which put the well being of orangutans first, not that there is no small danger to tourists from these habituated orangutans.

I got the feeling OF did not like my intervention and the tour operator they use (Discovery Initiatives) refused to reply to emails. As far as I know, nothing has changed, despite the Orangutan Foundation making a lot of money out of their tours which include Camp Leakey.

When Around Orang Utans


Statement by the Secretary-General of CITES on concerns expressed about confiscated orangutans

Personal note: I think CITES has got our message! This statement is likely to be ‘politically’ laying the foundations for the repatriation of the orangutans.

The immediately responsibility rests with the Indonesian CITES Authority; in other words the rather less than enthusiastic Ministry of Forestry. But, we will not be letting it rest there, and we will still hold Mr Scanlon and Mr Sellar (CITES Enforcement Officer) responsible and accountable. In 2006 a similar campaign led by Nature Alert resulted in 48 orangutans being returned to Indonesia.

I have been assured there is a home waiting for these orangutans at a rescue centre in Indonesia, which we hope will lead one day to them being returned to the forests after a suitable period of rehabilitation. There is zero need for any of these orangutans to be sent to an Indonesian zoo.

This is thanks to those of you who sent the letters to CITES. I can’t do this alone and clearly we do work well as a team of dedicated people who won’t ever take no or silence from CITES etc for an answer - will we?!

I will let you know the minute I receive further news.

On behalf of these 11 orangutans, thank you once again.


p.s. In less than a month we have forced a ban on orangutans being used in circus like shows in Malaysia; also the use of bears in shows and tigers for souvenir photos. Not forgetting, we have given the Malaysian government a lot to think about!

And now we are in the closing stages of 11 illegally caught and traded orangutans going home. If you sent those letters, I hope you will feel proud to have helped and a great sense of achievement. And to top it all, it has not cost a penny/cent/euro etc. We don’t ask for your money, only a little of your time.


Statement by the Secretary-General of CITES on concerns expressed about confiscated orangutans

Geneva, 20 May 2010

The Secretariat has recently received a number of emails urging the return to Indonesia of 11 orangutans confiscated by the CITES Management Authority of Thailand in February 2009.

In keeping with its responsibilities to promote enforcement of the Convention and to assess and communicate relevant information, the Secretariat contacted the Thai Management Authority about these messages.

The Thai Management Authority responded immediately, stating that the animals had been well cared for since their confiscation and that DNA analysis showed they were Bornean orangutans. It advised the Secretariat that the Thai and Indonesian authorities had been consulting about the possible return of the animals - as both countries had arranged for the return of a number of orangutans three years ago.

The Thai Management Authority further stated that it had written officially to the CITES Management Authority of Indonesia earlier this month to find out whether it would like the animals to be returned at its expense – as provided under Article VIII of the Convention.
The Secretariat is also in contact with the Indonesian Management Authority about this matter.

As provided by the Convention, the determination of the most suitable long-term home for confiscated animals rests with the State of confiscation, following consultation with the State of export. The State of confiscation may consult with the Secretariat, whenever it considers this desirable, but the CITES Secretariat has no power to decide the final destination of confiscated animals.

The Thai Management Authority has advised that its investigation into the events leading up to the confiscation of the 11 orangutans is ongoing. The role of the Secretariat in relation to domestic law enforcement is supportive in nature and is focused on exchanging information about alleged violations, strengthening law enforcement capacity and facilitating coordinated action by interested States.

In this context, the Secretariat offers and provides technical back-up to assist States in their investigation and pursuit of individuals or organizations which are suspected of having violated the Convention and relevant national law.

The emails sent to the Secretariat also raise issues of compliance with the Convention. The Secretariat supports other CITES bodies in carrying out their functions concerning compliance. It advises and assists Parties in complying with their CITES obligations and makes recommendations for achieving compliance. Compliance measures under the Convention, however, can only be taken by the Conference of the Parties or its Standing Committee.

John Scanlon
CITES Secretary-General

Bali to host workshop on Orangutan conservation

Bali to host workshop on Orangutan conservation

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Denpasar, Bali (ANTARA News) - An international workshop on orangutan conservation will be conducted in the resort island of Bali from July 15-16, 2010.

The workshop will be organized by the Forestry Ministry`s directorate general of natural conservation and forest protection in cooperation with the Indonesian Orangutan Forum.

Spokesman of Trisakti University`s Orangutan Conservation Service Program, Jamartin Sihite said here on Saturday that the workshop would be conducted as part of similar activities in the past to save the orangutan from extinction.

"We are going to conduct the International Workshop on Orangutan Conservation in our bid to save the protected species from the danger of extinction," Jamartin said.

At the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Bali in 2007, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono announced a major initiative to save the nation`s orangutans.

A new study said orangutan numbers had declined sharply and were feared to become the first great ape species to go extinct if urgent action was not immediately taken. Serge Wich, a scientist at the Great Ape Trust in Iowa, said the declines in the orangutan populations in Indonesia and Malaysia since 2004 were mostly because of illegal logging and the expansion of palm oil plantations.

The survey found the orangutan population on Indonesia`s Sumatra island had dropped almost 14 percent since 2004, Wich said.

It also concluded that the orangutan population on Borneo island, which was shared by Malaysia, Brunei and Indonesia, had fallen by 10 percent.

In their study, Wich and his 15 colleagues said the declines in Borneo were occurring at an "alarming rate" but that they were most concerned about Sumatra, where the numbers show the population was in "rapid decline."

"Unless extraordinary efforts are made soon, the orangutan could become the first great ape species to go extinct," researchers wrote.

Indonesia and Malaysia, the world`s top two palm oil producers, have aggressively pushed to expand plantations amid a rising demand for biofuels which are considered cleaner and cheaper than petrol.(*)

Ikuti berita terkini di handphone anda

Peatland management crucial for reforestation, govt told

Peatland management crucial for reforestation, govt told

Erwida Maulia, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta Fri, 05/21/ 2010

The government has been advised to pay extra attention to the management of peatland as a major amount of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions is believed to originate from the destruction of the land.

Herwint Simbolon, researcher at the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI)’s Biology Research Center, said here Friday that peatland fires conducted in Indonesia from 1997 to 2006 released between 1.4 and 4.3 gigatons of CO2 emission annually.

“The figures account for between 19 and 60 percent of annual global carbon emissions produced by fossil fuel burning,” Herwint said in a speech that marked his inauguration as LIPI research professor in ecology and evolution.

The critical function of peatlands as CO2 storage has been undermined for many years, resulting in among others, the government’s thoughtless policy of massive peatland conversion for agricultural purposes, called the One Million Hectare Peatland Project (PLG) in Kalimantan back in the 1990s.

The implementation of the policy led to an alarming rate of peatland deforestation, the new professor said.

“The deforestation rate of peatlands during the 1985-2000 period nearly doubled that of mineral land, which reached 1.3 percent and 0.7 percent respectively. After, the 2000 [peatland deforestation rate] increased to 1.5 percent,” he added.

The deforestation of peatland in Indonesia in 2005 constituted 25 percent of total deforestation in Southeast Asia, he noted.

The reckless construction of 4,470 kilometer-long canals through the converted Kalimantan peatland, meanwhile, led to severe drainage, massive fire and, finally, the release of a huge amount of CO2 into the air in the late 1990s, he added.

Herwint asked the government to pay special attention to the management of peatland in the country, which he said would contribute significantly to the government’s effort to cut carbon emissions by 26 percent by 2020.

Greenpeace links HSBC climate change fund to deforestation

Greenpeace links HSBC climate change fund to deforestation

Friday, 21 May 2010

TSH to plant 8,153ha with oil palm this year

TSH to plant 8,153ha with oil palm this year

Nestle Update on Palm Oil and Deforestation

sent to a supporter.

Dear Consumer

You have, in the past written to us with regard to palm oil and we thought you would like to know that as a further step in its commitment to fight the major issue of deforestation, Nestlé has entered into a partnership with The Forest Trust (TFT). TFT, a global non-profit organisation with expertise in responsible sourcing, will help Nestlé enhance its commitment to responsible supply chains, by identifying and addressing threats to forest conservation.

Nestlé is the first global consumer goods company to become a TFT member. We want our purchasing power to act as a force for forest conservation.

The partnership will start with palm oil. We are determined to identify any companies that own or manage plantations or farms linked to deforestation, and where we identify them, we will exclude them from our supply chain.

Working with TFT, we have developed a set of Responsible Sourcing Guidelines that will guide Nestlé's palm oil procurement process. These demand that our purchases will:

a) Be derived from plantations and farms operating in compliance with local laws and regulations
b) Protect high conservation value forest areas
c) Support the free prior and informed consent of indigenous and local communities to activities on their customary lands where plantations are developed
d) Protect peatlands
e) Protect forest areas of ‘high carbon’ value

The partnership with TFT will therefore focus on assessing suppliers' performance in relation to these requirements. Where suppliers do not meet these criteria, but are committed to achieving sustainability, the partnership will provide the technical assistance they need to improve their practices. We will also identify new suppliers who comply with the guidelines (or could comply with the right technical assistance).

This is the latest step on our sustainable sourcing journey, building on our aim to use 100% sustainable palm oil by 2015. We are tracking progress carefully, and this year, 18% of our palm oil purchases will come from sustainable sources. We expect this to rise to 50% by the end of 2011.

While we do not use a huge volume of palm oil (0,7% of total palm oil production) compared with other companies, we hope that by focusing on sustainable solutions, we will inspire other companies around the world to follow suit - ensuring that the producers take responsibility for what happens along the entirety of the supply chain.

And this is just the beginning of our partnership with TFT – we will study our supply chains to identify a similarly ambitious plan for the pulp and paper we use.

Greenpeace has welcomed the move, describing it as “a very positive step”.

Thank you again for taking the trouble to contact us. We are grateful for the interest you have shown in our company.

Lynne Fearnley
Consumer Relations Officer
Consumer Services