Gunung Leuser, Kerinci Seblat and Bukit Barisan Selatan

Jul 6, 2004

INDONESIA: UNESCO grants Indonesian national parks Source: Copyright 2004, Jakarta Post Date: July 7, 2004 JAKARTA (DPA): The decision by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to declare three national parks in Sumatra, Indonesia, as world natural heritage sites drew immediate criticism from local environmentalists on Tuesday. UNESCO on Monday reportedly designated three of Indonesia's national parks - Gunung Leuser, Kerinci Seblat and Bukit Barisan Selatan - as world heritage sites at the 28th World Heritage Committee being held in Suzhou, China. While world heritage status is likely to help raise international aid for preserving the three parks, Indonesian environmentalists criticized UNESCO for failing to give the designation to the entire Leuser eco-system. "It stinks," said Hasjrul Junaid, spokesman for the Indonesian NGO Network for Forest Conservation (SKEPHI). "We have proposed heritage site status not just for the Leuser national park area but for the entire Leuser eco-system which covers 2.6 million hectares." Leuser National Park, a 792,675-hectare swath of coastal and mountainous forest in Aceh and North Sumatra spanning provinces, is deemed one of the last remaining natural habitats for endangered species such as the Sumatran tiger, Sumatran elephant and Sumatran rhino.