Hope for Indonesia’s tigers and orangutans?
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Hope for Indonesia’s tigers and orangutans?

Indonesia, home to one third of the world’s remaining tropical forests, is set to extend a ban on forest clearing. Extending the ban is crucial for the survival of severely threatened species such as the Sumatran tiger and orangutan.

A two-year moratorium on deforestation is set to expire and you can be sure that the palm oil, paper and timber industries are paying close attention. Some members have already vocally opposed any continuation of the deal. Fortunately, signs are pointing to president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono signing an extension. The government’s head of forestry sector reform also supports extending the ban.

From Reuters:

The world’s biggest producer of palm oil imposed a two-year moratorium on forest clearing in May 2011 under a US$1 billion (S$1.2 billion) climate deal with Norway aimed at reducing emissions from deforestation, covering 65 million hectares of forests, but this is due to expire on May 20.

Greenpeace, which has been instrumental in slowing the destruction of forests in Indonesia, had this to say (from the Guardian):

Extending the moratorium for another two years in Indonesia is good news for the climate and for increasingly endangered species such as the orangutan and Sumatran tiger. Indonesia’s rainforests need protection from relentless exploitation by palm oil, and pulp and paper companies.

– John Sauven, executive director, Greenpeace UK

Preventing further mass deforestation in Indonesia is not only crucial for the habitats of orangutans and Sumatran tigers, but also in terms of climate change. Deforestation is a major contributor of greenhouse gases, not only from clearing them – especially with slash and burn techniques – but also due to the fact that dense tropical forests absorb so much CO2. When cleared, these carbon sinks can transform into major sources of ghg emissions, as in the case of peat forests, which when drained release huge amounts of CO2 as well as acidify rivers and streams.

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Pic: Tambako The Jaguar (Flickr CC)

Illegal deforestation is already a huge problem for tigers, orangutans and the entire world due to its contribution to climate change. We don’t need sanctioned mass deforestation to compound the nightmare.

In light of what the International Animal Rescue (IAR) has revealed to be taking place West Kalimantan on Indonesian Borneo, we know that orangutans simply cannot tolerate more of their habitat being destroyed. Sign this petition to lend your voice to the fight for conservation and against orangutan habitat destruction.