A public statement to the world byInternational Animal Rescue (IAR) issues the warning that unless effective action is taking to protect their natural habitats, orangutans face worldwide extinction within ten years. Recently, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) officially listed the Bornean orangutan as a critically endangered species as a result of the devastation of Indonesian rainforests, of which a staggering 25% have been leveled in recent decades.
In just 25 years, more than a quarter of Indonesia’s forests – 76 million acres, an area almost the size of Germany – have disappeared. [Source]
As we speak, there is an ongoing eco-apocalypse occurring in Indonesia that has received little to no attention from the media. In addition to out of control fires among peat beds in many of the islands of Indonesia, deforestation, primarily for the production of consumer grade palm oil, is swiftly wiping out the habitats of the Bornean orangutan.
Chief executive of IAR, Alan Knight, predicts that we will see the permanent loss of several species of orangutans within the next decade unless serious efforts are made to address the fires and consumer-driven deforestation in this region. He speculates that the fires, which are often claimed to be naturally occurring, provide the perfect cover for companies wishing to expand palm oil production and to clear vast swaths of rainforest without seeking legal approval.
The fires produce quite a good excuse … all of a sudden this area they wanted to produce palm oil on, it’s useful for nothing [after being burned], so they end up planting palm oil on it. – Alan Knight, chief executive of the charity, International Animal Rescue (IAR)
The principle antagonists in the destruction of orangutan natural habitats are the companies who have come to depend on cheap palm oil to produce a broad array of consumer products from biodiesel fuel to hair and beauty-care products like shampoo and toothpaste to food products such as pizza crusts, frying oil, snack foods and noodles. Some of the most influential culprits include the corporate giants Pepsico, Johnson & Johnson and Colgate-Palmolive, who have been accused of doing little to change their destructive practices.
Orangutans and many other wild animals are being driven from the forest in heart-wrenching scenes that go unnoticed in Western media.
Tragically, the fires are devastating Indonesian Borneo and places like Gunung Palung National Park, home to some of the largest populations of orangutans on the planet. Several organizations are working tirelessly to evacuate trapped animals, but the toll on wildlife in Indonesia is already staggering. Some estimate that as many as 20,000 orangutans may be wiped out. – Alex Pietrowski, Waking Times
It is difficult to politicize an issue like this when even a precursory look at the devastation being brought unto the world’s rainforests reveals the shocking truth that habitats for the orangutan and many other of nature’s most exotic and noble animals is increasing year over year. While the most powerful nations concern themselves with entertainment, politics and ever-increasing economic growth, we are swiftly losing the most important treasures of our mother planet.
If the current destruction of the rainforest continues, then I have absolutely no hope that any orangutans will remain in the wild. -Alan Knight, chief executive of the charity, International Animal Rescue (IAR)