Great apes shot and burnt alive by palm oil farm­ers

Daily Mirror - - NEWS - Lucy.thorn­[email protected] @lucethorn­ton

Pic­tures: AN­DREW STENNING

30, says: “It is a big in­dus­try for us here and has helped our econ­omy. It has given many peo­ple money.

“But it is bad for the wildlife. When I was 10 I would see about four times the num­ber of orangutans I do now.”

Char­i­ties say it is un­der­stand­able lo­cals wel­come this eco­nomic boost, as 40 years ago some faced star­va­tion.

Marc An­cre­naz, from orang­utan con­ser­va­tion pro­gramme Hu­tan, said: “The poverty level was 30 to 40% and now it is be­low 5%. Peo­ple are not starv­ing any more.”

But the orangutans are, and must ven­ture out of ever-di­min­ish­ing pock­ets of rain­for­est to for­age.

Orang­utan Land Trust con­ser­va­tion­ist Lone Droscher-Nielsen, who has spent 20 years fight­ing to save CON­SER­VA­TION­IST LONE ON LOSS OF APE HABI­TATS their area, even though there’s no food or trees left. “If they do go to other ar­eas, they face com­pe­ti­tion and get pushed back out into the open ar­eas again.” Orang­utan In­for­ma­tion Cen­tre’s Ricko Jaya, a vet in Su­ma­tra, says half of all orangutans they res­cue have been shot with an air ri­fle. “I’ve lost count how many pel­lets we find in their bod­ies.” Panut Ha­di­s­is­woyo, a wildlife res­cuer, says orangutans are “one step from ex­tinc­tion”.

But there is hope, too, as or­phaned RES­CUED

Bor­neo’s great apes, said she has found them on the ground starv­ing to death.

“They cut the for­est down and the orangutans are left in the open,” she said. “They are so con­fused be­cause their home has sud­denly van­ished. I’ve seen fe­males who don’t want to leave orangutans are re­leased back into the wild. One male called Tiger, who had his first chance of free­dom scup­pered af­ter try­ing to steal a mo­tor­bike from a plan­ta­tion, was re­leased last month.

And some palm oil plan­ta­tions have joined the fight to pro­tect the apes.

Dr Si­mon Lord, who works for Sime Darby Plan­ta­tion in Bor­neo, is a found­ing mem­ber of the Round Ta­ble on Sus­tain­able Palm Oil. His com­pany sup­plies Nes­tle, Unilever, Kel­loggs and their oil goes into 90% of bis­cuits in the UK, in­clud­ing McVi­ties.

He said: “We don’t want to go down in his­tory as the com­pany that trashes forests and kills orangutans. It’s about com­mon de­cency and ethics. It is not an evil crop but it can be grown by evil peo­ple. It’s these peo­ple who taint the The orang­utan and lit­tle girl in Ice­land’s ad­vert rest of us who are try­ing to get it right.”

Michelle De­silets, from Orang­utan’s Land Trust, said: “Ice­land got it wrong! It’s not about cut­ting out palm oil, it’s about en­sur­ing your sup­ply chain is free from de­for­esta­tion.

“It’s true palm oil rep­re­sents a cat­a­strophic threat to the orang­utan but please don’t stop us­ing it. The boy­cott is not an ef­fec­tive strug­gle for change.”

Ice­land boss Richard Walker said: “The cur­rent level of palm oil con­sump­tion means de­mand is too great for it to be mass pro­duced in a truly sus­tain­able man­ner. For that rea­son, we have com­mit­ted to re­move palm oil from all own la­bel food.”

Fe­males don’t want to leave an area even if there are no trees or food

SEC­OND CHANCE Orang­utan mum & baby at cen­tre VI­RAL

Baby aged 6 months among trees

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