--------- Forwarded Message ---------

DATE: Fri, 1 Dec 2000 11:10:47 
From: "fitri" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>

----- Original Message -----
To: <undisclosed-recipients:;>
Sent: Friday, December 01, 2000 10:18 AM
Subject: Environment-Indonesia: Orangutan Trade Destroying Species

> Inter Press Service
> November 29, 2000
> By Richel Dursin
> Jakarta,
>    Animal rights activists are lauding a current crackdown on the illegal
> trade
> in orangutans in Indonesia, but they say authorities must now start
> putting offenders in jail to show that the government is really serious
> protecting the endangered primates.
>    While a few arrests have been made in recent months, activists note
> not
> one trader or buyer of orangutans has landed behind bars yet.
>    This is despite Indonesia's 1990 conservation of the biodiversity and
> ecosystem act, which says a person keeping or trading protected species
> as
> orangutans should be sent to jail for five years or pay a fine of 100
> rupiahs (now about $ 10,000).
>    Just recently, authorities caught a student at a private university
> selling a
> two-year-old orangutan for three million rupiahs ($ 319).
>    Much fanfare also accompanied the arrest last August of a bird trader
> was
> trying to sell a baby orangutan to an activist posing as a Western
>    "Selling orangutans is a crime because they are protected and
> species," says Chairul Saleh, senior project officer of World Wide Fund
> Indonesia. But he adds, "We have to set a precedent so the people will
> trading or keeping orangutans."
>    Orangutans are found solely on the islands of Borneo and Sumatra. In
> there were about 25,000 of them in Indonesia. Today, authorities say, the
> orangutan population has dwindled to just 12,000.
>    The rampant illegal trade in the animals is one of the major reasons
> this. Indeed, some sellers even advertise openly in the papers. In Pramuka
> market in East Jakarta, meanwhile, baby orangutans are being sold from 2
> million
> to 3 million rupiahs ($ 212 to $ 319) each.
>    But Samedi, head of the trade and traffic wildlife control
> of
> the forestry ministry, says, "The illegal trade of orangutans in Indonesia
> very difficult and complicated. It is like the trade of illegal drugs."
>    "Orangutan traders in the black market are clever," he adds. "When we
> there, they don't sell the animals, but when we are no longer there, that
> the
> time they sell."
>    The buyers come mostly from middle-upper class families, including
> politicians and military officials, who cage the animals as pets. The
> ministry has also reported that timber exporters illegally ship orangutans
> of the country to Taiwan, Hong Kong, Korea, and Japan.
>    "By keeping the orangutans as pets, the people think they are
> them, but in fact they are not," Saleh says. "They have a wrong idea about
> animal conservation."
>    Activists say that the economic crisis has exacerbated the problem,
> poachers increasing efforts to get their hands on baby orangutans. This
> always means killing the mothers first, say experts.
>    "Behind every one of those pets, you see the ghost of their mothers,"
> Kathryn Monk, a British researcher who has spent five years on the
> program of the Gunung-Leuser National Park in North Sumatra.
>    Female orangutans mate just once every eight years. Experts say mother
> orangutans would rather give up their lives than one of their offspring.
>    "When people want to have a baby orangutan, they should kill the mother
> first," says Saleh. "So, it means if you see a single baby orangutan being
> traded, one adult female orangutan has been killed."
>    Experts note that adult female orangutans are found at higher densities
> than
> adult males, and are thus more likely targets of hunters.
>    Fortunately, activists report that the campaign against the illegal
> of
> orangutans is now gaining support from some celebrities like popular child
> singer Sherina Munaf who stars in a film focusing on the smuggling of
> orangutans
> from Indonesia to Osaka, Japan.
>    The film, being produced by WWF to raise public awareness on orangutan
> conservation, documented the journey of four orangutans smuggled to Japan
> through Bali and their trip back to the forest in East Kalimantan.
>    The four orangutans, already being sold in a pet shop in Japan, were
> brought
> back to Indonesia last February by authorities and animal rights
> Admits Samedi: "Some government officials connive with wildlife smugglers
> augment their salary."
>    There have been cases, however, in which the government officials
> did
> not know that the orangutans happen to be endangered or are a protected
> species.
> This has prompted the WWF to put together a manual to help officials
> distinguish
> which animals are endangered or protected.
>    Saleh remarks, "The police, customs and immigration officials don't
> enough knowledge about wildlife."
>    But it is not just the illegal trade that is menacing the orangutans in
> particular. Habitat loss, mainly due to illegal logging and forest fires,
> also endangered the lives of the primates.
>    Nowadays, illegal logging outstrips legal timber production. According
to a
> recent report by the Indonesia-UK Tropical Forest Management Program,
> logging accounts for 32 million cubic meters of timber every year,
> with
> an official production of 29.5 million cubic meters. This is equivalent to
> 800,000 hectares of forest being illegally logged each year.
>    "Our forest is dying a painful death," says Longgena Ginting, campaign
> coordinator of the non-governmental Indonesian Environmental Forum
> "The
> root of the problem is the extraordinary increase in the capacity of the
> national logging industry."
>    For a long time now, fires of varying magnitude have been a common
> occurrence
> in the Indonesian forests. Every year, thousands of hectares are burned
> by
> local farmers, spurred by foreign multinationals, to satisfy international
> demand for wood and make space for more profitable palm oil plantations
> rice
> fields.
>    "Rampant forest destruction prompts many orangutans to flee from the
> forests
> and seek refuge in rehabilitation centers," Saleh says. For instance,
> are
> now some 400 orangutans at the Wanariset Samboja rehabilitation center in
> Kalimantan. In 1996, the center played host to just 100 orangutans.
>    Experts say the widespread deforestation is having a serious impact not
> only
> on the animals, but also on the local farmers as hungry orangutans go to
> fields and eat their crops.

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