Stop trashing the habitat of more than 1,000 orangutans!

2 Orang Utan eating fruits Orangutans need intact forests. (© Globalfilm)

The jungles of Sungai Putri are one of the last refuges for Borneo’s orangutans and home to more than a thousand of these highly endangered great apes. Now their survival is in jeopardy: a timber company is preparing the ground for pulp plantations in their habitat. Call on the Indonesian government to act immediately!

Call to action

To: the President of the Republic of Indonesia, Joko Widodo; the Minister of Environment and Forestry, Siti Nurbaya Bakar; Peatland Restoration Agency Deputy Myrna Safitri; West Kalimantan Forestry Office Director Marcellinus Tjawan

Stop the establishment of a pulp plantation in the Sungai Putri peat swamp forest.

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The waters of the Sungai Putri meander through an incomparable landscape of lakes and swamps on their way to the Kapuas, the longest river of the Indonesian part of Borneo. The most extensive freshwater wetlands of Asia, the environment is an ideal refuge for orangutans.

More than a thousand orangutans live in the dense canopy of giant trees. While local people had always been aware of the presence of the orange “forest people”, they are so well-hidden that scientists did not document the population until a mere ten years ago.

Now their survival is in jeopardy. In December 2016, the timber company Mohairson Pawan Khatulistiwa began digging canals through the peat to drain it and prepare the ground for fast-growing pulp plantations.

The company is acting in blatant disregard of the environment and the law: following the devastating fires of 2015, the Indonesian government banned new plantations in primary forests and on peat soils.

“We need to make sure that the government does more to protect rainforests and peat bogs – paying lip service is not enough,” says Agus Sutomo of our partner organization Link-AR Borneo. “It’s time to take action against the destruction of nature.”

The swamp forests are vital for orangutans and humans: the peatland is a vast carbon sink – clearing the land would release the carbon into the atmosphere and contribute to climate change. Indonesian forest and peat fires account for 15 to 30 percent of global carbon emissions.

Environmentalists have alerted the Ministry of Environment and Forestry and the Peatland Restoration Agency. It appears that the timber company has in fact managed to obtain a concession in the ecologically priceless peat swamp forest.

Tell the Indonesian government to put solid protection for the Sungai Putri peatlands in place NOW.

Back­ground Letter

To: the President of the Republic of Indonesia, Joko Widodo; the Minister of Environment and Forestry, Siti Nurbaya Bakar; Peatland Restoration Agency Deputy Myrna Safitri; West Kalimantan Forestry Office Director Marcellinus Tjawan

Dear Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Indonesia’s wealth of rainforests and peat swamps and their extraordinary biodiversity is not only a priceless treasure for your country, but for all of humanity. In the wake of the devastating fires of 2015, you went to great lengths to protect the primary forests and peat bogs in particular in the interest of preventing climate change and protecting biodiversity.

Nevertheless, PT Mohairson Pawan Khatulistiwa and other timber and palm oil companies plan to destroy the ecologically priceless Sungai Putri peat swamp forests in Ketapang District, West Kalimantan, to make way for plantations.

Sungai Putri is one of the last habitats of Borneo’s orangutans – a freshwater wetland area of worldwide significance.

I call on you to stop the assault on this natural treasure immediately. The moratorium you have put in place must apply to all companies without exception.

Sincerely,

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