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

2 orangutans eating fruit Orangutans need intact forests. (© globalfilm)

The peat swamp forests of Sungai Putri are one of the last sanctuaries for Borneo’s orangutans. While the Indonesian government stopped one company from preparing the ground there for pulp plantations, the orangutans are not safe yet: numerous companies are suing against Indonesia's new conservation laws.

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 plantations in Indonesia's peat swamp forests.

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Sungai Putri is the most extensive freshwater wetland of Asia, a richly biodiverse environment of 550 square kilometers, of which around a third is still primary forest.

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 manage to 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 acted in blatant disregard of the environment and the law: following the devastating fires of 2015, the Indonesian government banned all human intervention 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.”

Activists alerted the Ministry of Environment and Forestry of the timber company's activities, forcing a stop to the drainage work, but the bulldozers are still standing ready. “We haven't succeeded yet,” says Agus Sutomo. “We’re fighting for much more than the peat swamp forests of Sungai Putri: Timber, pulp and palm oil companies are suing to have the new forest and wetland protection laws revoked.”

Tell the Indonesian government to put effective protection for Sungai Putri and all of Indonesia's 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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