Letter: Prosecute the killers of orangutans

Letter: Prosecute the killers of orangutans
| Wed, 12/14/2011 9:55 AM Jakarta Post

Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) is extremely distressed and appalled to learn that Malaysian palm oil companies are responsible for genocide against Indonesia’s endangered orangutans.

All over Kalimantan, Malaysian-owned companies have been reported to be destroying what little is left of Indonesia’s rainforests and orangutans. Not only did they destroy the last vestiges of land that is home to the endangered primates but they paid plantation workers to kill at least 20 orangutans and proboscis monkeys as a means of pest control since 2008.

The manner in which these primates were eradicated was horrific as they were chased by dogs, then shot, stabbed or hacked to death with machetes.

This shows that palm oil companies have failed to honor their commitment to achieving the “sustainable” label, which must meet several criteria, such as refraining from the clearance of virgin forests and adhering to fair land acquisition policies.

There is absolutely no regard for law in the gruesome manner in which the orangutans were killed.

It was irresponsible for palm oil companies to seize land inhabited by the orangutans, resulting in the unceremonious eviction of the defenseless animals.

Even local residents were not spared from the onslaught as their land was also taken away by the palm oil industry.

Apart from the orangutans, the expansion of plantations is also destroying habitats of other endangered species, such as tigers and elephants.

The diminution of the orangutans’ natural habitat, forces them to leave their territory and approach neighboring villages, where they are hunted by people who consider them a threat.

This situation will indirectly facilitate illegal hunting and trading, especially of tigers and elephants. The killing of orangutans by plantation workers, or by farmers who see them as pests, is a serious issue.

More often there is a fragmentation of forests created by oil palms, which prevent the movement of wildlife from one isolated forest patch to another, leading to inbreeding and eventual population decline.

The palm oil companies should be held accountable for their actions.

If they are truly sincere in their orangutan conservation efforts, they would not have hired men to carry out such cruel and immoral acts through the eradication of the primates.

Oil palm plantation companies should instead create and run appropriate protection systems for conservation in their concessions, and assist in the arrest of workers convicted of killing orangutans.

They can improve the situation by replanting and planning for actual wildlife corridors to support movement between protected and forested areas.

In order to prevent orangutans and other wildlife populations from being stamped out by profit-hungry oil palm plantation companies, SAM urges the Indonesian Natural Resource Conservation Agency of the Forestry Ministry and the police to act firmly by enforcing the full extent of the law on the plantation owners and the workers who convicted of killing the orangutans.

Likewise, the Malaysian Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment should take a serious view of the offence committed in Indonesia and act against the palm oil companies in accordance to the seriousness of the crime under the Wildlife Conservation Act.

SM Mohd Idris
Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM)
Kuala Lumpur

Letter: The arrest of orangutan killers
| Fri, 11/25/2011 10:49 AM

The arrest of two people for killing orangutans and monkeys (see “Exterminators arrested for orangutan killings”, Nov. 21, ) is welcome news, not least because these are thought to be the first ever such arrests for killing orangutans, despite about 200,000 having been slaughtered since 1970.

We must now wait and see if these people are prosecuted and punished appropriately.

It is clear that these men were hired and rewarded to do the killing, so we must now wait and see if those who paid for this act of genocide are also arrested and punished severely.

If the company concerned happens to be foreign-owned, it would be good to see those at the very top, the real paymasters, hauled before an Indonesian court of law.

Sean Whyte