All of Indonesia's
Territory is a Conservation Area
The world's last remaining orangutans, now confined to the forests of just two islands- Sumatra and Borneo-are facing critical decline and possible extinction within the next twenty years. Corrupt politicians and corporate leaders have created a regime in Indonesia that has driven the rapid, unsustainable exploitation of the orangutans' forest habitat and has led the country to economic collapse. These forces have conspired with El Nino and the demands of the international marketplace to accelerate the destruction of Indonesia's forests and its abundant biodiversity.
In 1995 experts expressed profound concern that "suitable orangutan habitat in Indonesia and Malaysia has declined by more than 80% in the last 20 years" and that "orangutan numbers have declined by 30-50% over the last 10 years". The situation now is even more critical.
This report identifies the
major threats to the survival of wild orangutans from
habitat loss, forest degradation and fragmentation.
Direct threats include logging operations, conversion of
forests to commercial plantations, agricultural
practices, industrial development projects, hunting for
food or the pet trade and human- animal conflicts.
In the light of the evidence presented in this report it is clear that Indonesia must commit itself to an urgent action plan for the conservation of orangutans and the forests upon which they depend.
The new regime has an historic opportunity to redress the balance of the last three and a half decades in favour of the environment, wildlife and civil society. EIA urgently calls upon the Indonesian National and Provincial Governments to immediately implement EIA's International Orangutan Conservation Action Plan.
The international community, particularly those nations which create the demand for timber and palm oil products, has a responsibility to ensure that Indonesia takes such action.
The developed nations together with the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, Asian Development Bank and private financial institutions must provide appropriate financial and technical support to implement the Action Plan. Contingent to this is the application and enforcement of wide-ranging environmental and social conditions to lending and aid.
Failure to take this
action will inevitably result in the on-going,
uncontrolled decline of the orangutan and its eventual
extinction in Indonesia. Inextricably linked with the
fate of Indonesia's natural forests, the demise of the
orangutan will signal the critical failure to achieve
sustainable forest management. The first years of the 2
1st century may be witness to the irreversible loss of
countless species, considerable negative impacts for
regional and global climate regulation and massive social
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