The EDGE team has just heard about a major proposal that threatens a reintroduced population of the Critically Endangered Sumatran orangutan (EDGE mammal no. 97). Bukit Tigapuluh is the only remaining area of large, dry-lowland forest in Sumatra, and is home to over 100 Sumatran orangutans reintroduced to the area after decades of research, as well as 100 of the 400 surviving Sumatran Tigers (ranked 331 on the EDGE mammals list), 65 Critically Endangered Sumatran elephants (ranked 12th) and countless other rare and threatened species.
Asia Pulp and Paper and the Sinar Mas Group have a controversial history of forest conversion activities in Sumatra, and now plan on turning Bukit Tigapuluh into pulp for paper production. They have already completed a logging highway through this unique ecosystem, which has opened it up to rampant illegal logging and has led to increased human-tiger conflict. These global giants are also threatening the livelihoods of two indigenous tribes – the Talang Mamak and the Oran Rima, that live in and depend on this forest.
Sumatra suffers the highest rate of deforestation in the world, and lost almost 50% of its natural forest in the 22 year period from 1985 to 2007. It now has less than 30% natural forest cover. Many NGOs have been active in proposing alternative sources of finance to deforestation in the area, such as carbon credits for not logging trees as a measure of protection against climate change.
What you can do:
-If you disagree with this proposal, sign a petition voicing your view by following this link: Https://www.gopetition.com.au/petitions/orangutan.html
-Spread the word and raise the profile of this controversial proposal
– A collection of documents published by WWF and other groups in Indonesia can be found at: Https://www.savesumatra.org/index.php/link, including a joint release and investigative report on APP’s activities in Bukit Tigapuluh.