Friday, June 20th, 2008

Nyaru Menteng – Borneo Orangutan Survival’s rescue and rehabilitation centre in Indonesian Borneo – has recently welcomed the arrival of three young orangutans from West Kalimantan. All three (aged between 2 – 3 years) were confiscated from private households – victims of palm oil development and logging. Nyaru Menteng, founded by Lone Droscher-Nielsen, is home to 670 orangutans, ranging in age from a few months to about 8 years, where they are cared for and rehabilitated to prepare them for their ultimate release into the wild.

Yenny puts one of the babies into the transfer boxIn February this year, the Natural Resource Conservation Agency (BKSDA) of the Forestry Department in Indonesia, confiscated Frengky – one of the orangutans – from the area of Singkawang, on the north coast of West Kalimantan.

Within two months, another young orangutan, Thomas, was rescued from Sintang, also in the northern part of West Kalimantan province. They were temporarily homed in transit cages in Pontianak, waiting for an opportunity to be transferred to a rehabilitation centre.

It wasn’t long before a third orangutan, Caleb, was confiscated – this time in Ketapang, a small town in the southern part of the province, abut seven hours’ journey by boat from Pontianak city. He was placed in the Yayasan Palung’s transit centre in Ketapang to await transfer to a rehabilitation centre.

Arriving at Nyaru MentengNo such facilities exist in West Kalimantan, and all the other orangutan rehabilitation centers in Central and East Kalimantan were all full at the time. In May, however, the Centre for Orangutan Protection (COP), which assists the BKSDA in caring for captive orangutans in West Kalimantan, heard that Nyaru Menteng would be able to accommodate these youngsters at the end of the month.

Nyaru Menteng is located in Palangka Raya, Central Kalimantan province. There is no road link between this area and West Kalimantan – nor is there a direct air link – so the orangutans would have to be flown via Jakarta. In the space of a day, COP had made arrangements with Sriwijaya Air and cargo to transport the orangutans to Palangka Raya, and also to transfer Caleb from Ketapang. He joined Frengky and Thomas in BKSDA’s transit cages in Pontianak that night, to await the journey to Palangka Raya the following morning.

At 7.00 am the three orangutans were at the airport, ready for loading. The plane left at 8.15 am and arrived in Jakarta at about 10.00 am. After a 30 minute wait for the next plane, the orangutans arrived in Palangka Raya at about 12 noon.

First thing to do is build a nest!All of three orangutans had travelled well and were fine. Thomas looked a little nervous, but when all three were finally put together in a big cage, they were so happy. Within minutes they were playing, hanging, biting each other – and eating!

Thanks to Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation in Nyaru Menteng, BOS-UK and Orangutan Appeal UK for making this transfer possible

Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation (BOSF) is the largest primate rescue project in the world, with nearly 1000 orangutans in its care. It is the only organisation actively rescuing both wild and captive orangutans which have been displaced by the relentless devastation of their rainforest habitat for logging and the production of palm oil. The ultimate goal of BOSF is the release of healthy and rehabilitated orangutans back into protected forest. Borneo Orangutan Survival International is a registered international charity committed to the protection of the orangutan and its rainforest habitat, and relies entirely on donations to achieve this.

Report by Yenny Fildayani – COP/Centre for Orangutan Protection – June 2008

Photographs: Centre for Orangutan Protection

The issue of deforestation

Friday, June 6th, 2008

A devastating environmental issue facing many Pacific Island countries is deforestation, says Department of Environment Director Epeli Nasome.He says it is an issue countries with big areas of forest cover like Papua New Guinea, the Solomons and Fiji face. He says this is not so much the case in smaller coastal areas such as Kiribati, Niue and Tuvalu.

Mr Nasome says the environment plays a crucial role in the functions of daily life. This is not only because of our dependency on the environment for food, water and shelter but also because of the vast opportunities the environment is linked to. Deforestation has been an ongoing environmental issue and the need for more awareness on this environmental hazard is very important.

In its simplest term, deforestation is the removal of forest trees for various reasons normally done by man. Some of these reasons include the cutting of forest trees for commercial and development needs or for subsistence use like firewood or to build a house. Whatever the reasons for deforestation, the matter is of serious concern not only for government but also for people concerned with the state of the environment.

Mr Nasome says deforestation is considered an environmental problem by the department especially if the removal of trees in an area is undertaken without any control or management plans that would ensure the natural state of the area is maintained. He says the natural environment is at its most stable state if man does not invade the area for development activities.

“Once a number of trees are removed, this will surely result in some soil erosion and the consequential siltation of nearby natural waterways. Some causes of deforestation include uncontrolled logging practices, encroachment of development into rural and forested areas and infrastructural developments.

“Fiji has a National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (NBSAP). This plan has developed an inventory of natural resources and has also identified areas that should be conserved for various reasons. Under the Environment Management Act 2005, all new development proposals are required to undertake environment impact assessments (EIA) to ensure the proposed development has minimum adverse impacts on the natural environment.”

Mr Nasome said there was also a national code of logging practices of the Forestry Department that provided guidelines for proper logging activities.

Read more here

Illegal logging must be treated as corruption

Friday, June 6th, 2008

Jakarta (ANTARA News) – Forestry Minister MS Kaban said judicial officials should treat illegal logging as corruption case because the practice causes losses to the state.”I hope illegal logging will be classified as corruption because it causes losses to the state. So far, judges always link illegal logging to technical and administrative matters. This is not right because illegal logging causes losses to the state,” the minister said on the sidelines of a function to observe National Environment Day at the State Palace here on Thursday.

He said trees in state forests were all state assets so that if they were stolen the state would suffer losses. That`s why such a case should be handled like a criminal corruption case.

“Judges should change their perception by linking illegal logging with state losses,” the minister added.

Besides illegal logging, the confiscation of such logs must also be supervised with a corruption criminal approach because the auction of confiscated logs often did not meet the target set by the government.

“I agree with the idea of the Indonesian Corruption Watch (ICW) that there were potential state losses if logs are auctioned with proceeds different from the target set by the government,” the minister said.

Papua New Guinea Forests Being Cut and Burned Away

Friday, June 6th, 2008

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea, June 3, 2008 (ENS) – At the same time that the government of Papua New Guinea is seeking compensation for conserving the carbon-trapping capacity of its the world’s third largest expanse of tropical forests, destruction of these forests is occurring so fast that by 2021 most of the areas accessible to loggers will have been cleared or degraded, a new report based on satellite images reveals.The images are contained in an extensive report, “The State of the Forests of Papua New Guinea,” produced by scientists at the University of Papua New Guinea Remote Sensing Centre and their colleagues at the Australian National University.

Scientists at the UPNG Remote Sensing Centre discovered that even in so-called conservation “protected areas” forest destruction is occurring at the same pace as in unprotected regions.
Where roads extend through virgin Papua New Guinea forests, loggers are on their way.

The researchers spent five years analyzing satellite images that document 30 years of destruction in an area that contains a major portion of the world’s third largest tropical forest. Only the Amazon and Congo forests are bigger.

The scientists estimate that in 2001, Papua New Guinea’s accessible forests were being cleared or degraded at a rate of 362,000 hectares a year – amounting to a combined annual rate of deforestation and degradation of 1.41 percent.

At that pace, by 2021, the authors estimate that 83 percent of the country’s accessible forest – and 53 percent of its total forested area – will be gone or severely damaged.

The forests are under pressure from industrial logging, agricultural expansion and forest fires, the satellite images show.

“Government officials may claim that they wish rich countries to pay them for conserving their forests, but if they are allowing multinational timber companies to take everything that’s accessible, all that will be left will be lands that are physically inaccessible to exploitation and would never have been logged anyway” said Phil Shearman, the report’s lead author and Director of the UPNG Remote Sensing Centre.

“It’s fair to wonder why the government should be compensated after encouraging this industry for so long in the past, or why they should get paid in the future to conserve forest that cannot be reached,” Shearman said.

The report concludes that the data on forest destruction justifies curtailing current logging industry activities and scrapping new large-scale projects.

Read more here

Illegal trade of wild animals alarming level

Thursday, June 5th, 2008

priadi Gunawan and Oyos Saroso H.N. , The Jakarta Post , Medan, Bandarlampung | Thu, 06/05/2008 1:14 AM | HeadlinesThe illegal trade and hunting of wild animals, including endangered Sumatran tigers and elephants, has reached alarming levels in several parts of Sumatra.

In Deli Serdang regency, North Sumatra, a forest ranger team on Tuesday arrested two people believed to be members of a wild animal trade syndicate.

They were caught while trading two stuffed Sumatran tigers (Panthera tigris sumatrae) believed to have been a year old at the time of their death.

“This is not the first arrest we’ve made in the last month,” head of the natural resource conservation center at the North Sumatra forestry office Djati Wicaksono said.

Just two weeks earlier, he said, his office arrested four people trading a Sumatran tiger skin in Tiga Binanga, Karo regency.

Both the skin and stuffed tigers were taken from Leuser, Southeast Aceh, Djati said. Medan, the capital of North Sumatra, has reportedly become a favored place for the illegal trade because there are many buyers in the city.

Mount Leuser National Park head Nurhadi Utomo said he suspected poachers might have help from the authorities as they seemed to have no difficulties smuggling their wares out of Aceh.

“In fact, we have many check posts they must pass through,” Nurhadi told The Jakarta Post in Medan on Tuesday.

In Bandarlampung, local nongovernmental organizations said Lampung had increasingly become a major hub for the trade of endangered animals due to its proximity to Java.

“Lampung is a transit area and production center of ivory handicrafts,” said an NGO staffer who asked not to be named, adding that a group of 12 elephant ivory hunters and financial backers had since 2003 sold over 1,200 kilograms of ivory taken from some 47 elephants.

He said that in Way Kambas, a group of 19 ivory hunters, financial backers and craftsmen had sold nearly 1,800 kilograms of ivory from approximately 52 elephants over the same period.


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