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Press Release: 6 Dec 2011

The Centre for Orangutan Protection (COP) found four orangutan skeletons in a concession area of PT. Sarana Titian Permata, a subsidiary of Wilmar Group, in Central Kalimantan. One of them still stuck in a tree, allegedly it was shot to death. These findings have been reported to the Ministry of Forestry on 6 September 2011.

Earlier, on 7 June 201, the COP rescued an orangutan baby which kept as a pet by community of Bangkal village, Seruyan district, Central Kalimantan. The owner admitted, the orangutan mother had been killed while the land clearing in concession area of PT. Rimba Harapan Sakti (RHS), this palm oil plantation is also a subsidiary of Wilmar Group.

As the impact of deforestation for palm oil plantations forced at least 75 orangutans were rescued, and most of the plantations are the subsidiaries of Wilmar Group in Central Kalimantan, such as PT. Mustika Sembuluh, PT. Kerry Sawit Indonesia and PT. Sarana Titian Permata. These numbers excluded the orangutans that had already been killed while deforestation or died while on the way heading for the BOS Nyaru Menteng Reintroduction Center, near Palangkaraya. Until today, at least 938 orangutans were rescued from the concession areas of PT Matahari Kahuripan Indonesia (Makin Group), GoodHope Asia Holdings Limited, IOI Group, PT BW Plantation Tbk, PT Union Sampoerna Triputra Persada, Musim Mas Group, and Best Agro International.

The palm oil workers captured the orangutans, and this caused the death of orangutans. Almost 100% of captured orangutans were severely injured on the hand and the head. In August 2006, the workers of PT Kerry Sawit 2 (Wilmar Group) killed an orangutan by beating it and cutting its long finger and its ring finger of its left hand. In April 2007, the workers of PT Agrobukit (GoodHope Asia Holdings Limited) hoed an orangutan mother’s head until death, then put her into a wooden box. PT. Globalindo Alam Perkasa (Musim Mas Group) also treated badly to orangutans, and an orangutan died on 28 May 2006. These cruelty were commonly happened. The rescue team and the Natural Resources Conservation Center (BKSDA) staffs were commonly seeing these scenes.

Orangutans are protected by the Law on National Resources Conservation. However, the law does not enforce strictly, so it leads a massive crime to orangutans. Torture and killing of orangutans often occurred in front of the authorities, but they only let these happened. The Ministry of Forestry has not followed up yet regarding to COP’s report on the finding of orangutan skeletons in a concession area of Wilmar Group. As well as the report regarding to orangutans killing in a concession area of Best Agro International was responded by the authority, then they conducted an investigation, but the method was in doubt. The massive media publications of orangutans slaughter did not encourage them to be responsible securing the evidence in the crime scene (TKP).

Hardi Baktiantoro, Orangutan Campaigner of COP, said:

“The high number of orangutans who were successfully rescued to the rehabilitation center should be understood as a failure of orangutan protection instead of a successfulness. The orangutan killing continue because of the absence of law enforcement, and this is an organized crime that involve the company and the government, which is the authority should protect the orangutans and their habitat.”

Central Kalimantan province has a very strategic portion in orangutans conservation. Because, approximately 60% of Borneo orangutan populations are living in Central Kalimantan. The orangutan populations within the conservation areas (Tanjung Puting National Park, Sebagau National Park, and SM Lamandau) are ‘viable’ populations. Even though, the largest orangutan populations are found outside protected areas in Central Kalimantan.

“The failure to protect orangutans in Central Kalimantan is the largest numbers of loss of orangutans, as the national wildlife conservation icon,” said Hardi Baktiantoro.

The Centre for Orangutan Protection recommends:

1. The law enforcement. The Ministry of Forestry should look into the database of the Orangutan Rehabilitation and Rescue Center and also the local Natural Resources Conservation Center (BKSDA). They keep the evidence of orangutan killing, also the witnesses of the crime. The absence of law enforcement will only make the crimes and brutality to the orangutans continue.

2. The conflicts between orangutans and palm oil plantations show that the plantation areas are overlapping the existing orangutans habitat. This shows how the abuse of authority by giving permission to the companies to manage the forests. The officers who are involved in this legal process should be interrogated, because of alleged corruption and abuse of authority.

For further information and interview, please kindly contact:
Hardi Baktiantoro
phone 08121154911
email: email hidden; JavaScript is required

Daniek Hendarto
phone 081328837434
email:email hidden; JavaScript is required

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