An article about the reality of forest destruction and orangutans
***PRESS RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE GLOBAL DISTRIBUTION*** 20/04/2012 Confiscation of illegally held orphan Sumatran Orangutan
ILLEGAL ‘PET’ ORPHAN
ORANGUTAN SAVED IN SUMATRA,
CLOSE TO THE TRIPA PEAT
[Aceh Province – Sumatra – Indonesia]
Today an Orangutan confiscation team comprising staff and a veterinarian from the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Program (SOCP: PanEco Foundation and Yayasan Ekosistem Lestari), local armed police, and field staff from BKSDA Aceh (the Indonesian Ministry of Forestry’s nature conservation agency in Aceh), successfully confiscated a 2 year old orphan Sumatran orangutan from a location where it is was being detained illegally as a pet in a rural village in Aceh Barat Daya District, close to the Tripa peat swamp forests in Aceh Province, Indonesia.
The confiscation team arrived at the scene with police at 10:45 am today and immediately found the young male orangutan tied by the leg to the outside of a small shop, along a dusty road. Specialist orangutan veterinarian drh Yenny Saraswati of the SOCP promptly conducted a health inspection of the young orangutan. “His condition is not so good”, she concluded. “He is suffering from malnutrition, his skin is very dry and he has a wound on his leg from the rope he was tied up with, obviously from trying to get it off. We will take care of him at the our orangutan medical centre and monitor his condition, then when he’s fit and well we can eventually release him back to the wild at one of our reintroduction centres.”.
Police, BKSDA and SOCP confiscation team leader, Santi Lubis, calmly negotiated the handover of the young male orangutan with the shop owner. A crowd of 50 local villagers nevertheless gathered during the proceedings, including village elders and many children, all closely monitoring what developed into quite a tense situation.
“Confiscating orangutans being kept illegally as pets can be a dangerous task. There have been occasions in this area when we have been threatened with violence by angry neighbours. Fortunately, today we we’re well supported by armed police, whohelped keep the situation under control and prevented things from escalating”, said Santi. “The contribution of the local police today was exceptional and they should be congratulated”, she added.
Upon arrival, local police informed the villager that she was breaking the law and that she would be facing prosecution if she was unwilling to cooperate. According to Indonesian law No 5, 1990, the “conservation act”, it is illegal to capture, kill or trade orangutans in Indonesia and doing so carries a penalty of up to 5 years in prison and a 100 million Rupiah fine. A case in February this year saw an illegal orangutan trader sentenced to 8 months in prison in North Sumatra province. Despite the law being very clear, this was the first ever successful prosecution of an illegal orangutan owner in Sumatra.
Whilst clearly breaking the law, negotiations with the orangutans owner still took some time. The woman who was keeping the animal had obviously grown very fond of him and explained how her financial situation had improved whilst she had been keeping him profiting from the fact that more customers had been visiting her shop. A local villager told the team that she had been keeping the orangutan, which she had named Rahul, for over 1 year, and that her husband had captured him whilst working on a nearby palm oil plantation.
Dr Ian singleton, Director of Conservation at the SOCP explained “We have been forced to confiscate about 15 orangutans in this part of Aceh over the last few years. All of them are now effectively refugees, from forests that have been cut down by plantation companies. Todays rescue is the second orangutan from Tripa to be saved this week and another example of how urgently action is needed to protect Tripa’s unique Sumatran orangutan population. We all really must urge the Indonesian government to halt all forest clearance and the setting of illegal fires in Tripa as soon as possible if these animals are to have any chance of surviving the year. Offenders need to be prosecuted and Indonesia’s laws enforced, or we will lose them forever.
For further information or comment please contact:
Dr Ian Singleton – Director Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Program (SOCP). (m) phone number +62811560491, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Santi Lubis – SOCP Operations Manager and Confiscation Team Leader. (m) mobile +628126513552
For hi-res photographic images and contact to key spokespersons please email media liason:
PRESS RELEASE: SUCCESSFUL RESCUE ILLEGAL ‘PET’ ORPHAN ORANGUTAN SAVED IN SUMATRA
A 2 year old, orphaned orangutan named Rahul was confiscated from a small village on the edge of the Tripa peat forest, 20 April 2012. This is the second rescue this week highlighting the need for urgent action to prevent local extinction. The confiscation team and police arrived at the scene at 10:45am today and identified the young orangutan immediately, tied to a small shop. Specialist orangutan veterinarian drh Yenny Saraswati of the SOCP promptly conducted a health inspection of the young orangutan. The condition of this young male is not good, he is suffering from malnutrition, his skin is bad, and he has a wound from where he has been tied with a rope. We will provide medical treatment, monitor his condition, then release him in a healthy forest. Photo: Paul Hilton/SOCP/YEL(HAND OUT IMAGE ONLY, EDITORIAL USE ONLY)
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***PRESS RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE GLOBAL DISTRIBUTION***
Confiscation of illegally held orphan Sumatran Orangutan
ILLEGAL ‘PET’ ORPHAN ORANGUTAN SAVED IN SUMATRA
NEAR TRIPA PEAT SWAMP FORESTS
[Aceh Province – Sumatra – Indonesia]
Today an Orangutan confiscation team comprising staff and a veterinarian from the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Program (SOCP: PanEco Foundation and Yayasan Ekosistem Lestari) local armed police, and field staff from BKSDA Aceh (the Indonesian Ministry of Forestry’s nature conservation agency in Aceh) successfully confiscated a 2 year old orphan Sumatran orangutan from a location where it is was being detained illegally as a pet in a rural village in Aceh Barat Daya District, close to the Tripa peat swamp forests in Aceh Province, Indonesia. (full release attached)
For further comment or information please contact:
Dr Ian Singleton
Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Program
+628 1156 0491
A baby orangutan was captured from an oil palm concession operating in protected Leuser Ecosystem, the orangutan was illegally kept as a pet and confiscated by the team from YEL, SOCP, BKSDA and Police force on April 20, 2012 in Babahrot sub-district, Tripa. The location of the confiscation borders the protected Leuser Ecosystem.
Fidelis E. Satriastanti | April 17, 2012
The Environment Ministry has said it will launch an investigation into the issuance of a plantation concession inside the Tripa peat swamp forest in Aceh province.
The ministry’s announcement came in response to findings by the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation forest carbon reduction task force.
On Friday, the government-formed task force said it had evidence that palm oil company Kallista Alam had violated regulations in turning the swamp forest into a plantation.
The task force recommended that the Environment Ministry and the police further scrutinize Kallista’s actions.
“We will investigate if the company has properly conducted an Amdal [environmental impact analysis] or has other environmental permits,” Sudariyono, the ministry’s head of law enforcement unit, said at a seminar in Jakarta on Monday.
Even if the company did have a permit, Sudariyono said, the ministry would look into whether it included right to operate inside the Tripa peat forest.
Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, the head of the REDD task force, said on Friday that Kallista had violated the regulation.
“Opening a plantation inside a protected swamp area has clearly broken the law,” he said.
After interviewing locals, the team was convinced that Kallista had used illegal slash-and-burn methods in order to clear the peat land, violating several laws on plantations and the environment.
“Based on eyewitness accounts, the burning has been systematically done,” Kuntoro said.
On April 3, an Aceh court threw out a lawsuit brought by a coalition of environmental groups against outgoing Aceh Governor Irwandi Yusuf, who they alleged issued Kallista an illegal permit in August 2011.
The license allows the company to convert 1,600 hectares of the Tripa peat swamp forest into a palm oil plantation.
The forest was initially included in the government’s map of areas off-limits to forestry activities, published in May 2011, as part of a two-year moratorium on new forestry concessions in peat and primary forests.
However, a revised map issued in November dropped the Tripa forest from the protected zone. The plaintiffs in the suit argued that when Irwandi issued the permit in August, the revised map had not yet been published, meaning the area was still protected and the issuance was illegal.
The Banda Aceh State Administrative Court dismissed the groups’ lawsuit on a technicality, claiming that it was “not authorized to hear the matter.”
The coalition, which includes Indonesia’s largest environmental group Walhi and Greenpeace, said on Thursday that it had filed an appeal against the court’s decision.
Deddy Ratih, Walhi’s forest campaigner, said his group had filed an appeal with a higher court in the province.
“The area is critical to the conservation of rare species including orangutans, many of whom have died because of continuing fires there,” Deddy said.
He said satellite images showed more than 40 hot spots indicating fires in March as a result of land conversion in Tripa, located in northern Sumatra.
There were some 2,000 to 3,000 orangutans in the area in the 1990s, but only a few hundred are left today, Ratih said.
There are currently about 6,600 Sumatran orangutans in the wild.
Kuntoro, the REDD task force chief, is a close aide to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.
“That plantation is inside the protected forest. It’s strange they can get a permit. I suspect something behind the issue of the permit,” he said.