Indonesian orangutans, tigers and elephants threatened by new logging scheme

June 10th, 2009 - 1:46 pm ICT by ANI  

London, June 10 (ANI): A massive logging scheme in Indonesia may result in elephants, Sumatran tigers and some of Asia’s rarest orangutans plunging into a “dire and immediate” fight for their lives this summer.

According to a report in The Times, plans are being finalized for a immense logging operation in Indonesia aimed at keeping the world supplied with cheap photocopying paper.

The granting of the logging licence has provoked anger internationally among a coalition of conservation groups, who allege that it will enhance Indonesia’s position as the world’s third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases.

Deforestation led by the demand for paper and palm-oil industries is seen as the principal culprit.

The destruction of Indonesian rainforests accounts for about 4 per cent of all man-made greenhouse gas emissions.

The extensive new logging scheme, in which 124,000 acres (50,000 hectares) of forest will be felled on the island of Sumatra, is to be led by Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) - a group calculated to be the biggest of its type in the world when measured by the amount of forest destroyed.

The logging will threaten the last remaining patch of untouched forest near the Bukit Tigapuluh National Park and a critically endangered species of great ape living wild in that area.

As the stakes are raised in the confrontation between conservationists and APP, there are 100 orangutans under threat from the logging that were reintroduced there from captivity as recently as 2002, after painstaking scientific work.

It is the only scheme of its sort that has ever worked with the species.

“It took scientists decades to discover how to successfully reintroduce critically endangered orangutans from captivity into the wild,” said Peter Pratje of the Frankfurt Zoological Society. “It could take APP just months to destroy an important part of their new habitat,” he added.

Conservation groups in Asia and Europe have condemned the plan and the local government’s granting of a logging licence, highlighting the threat to at least two indigenous tribes whose lives depend on the forest.

Zoologists have also warned that deforestation could cause more attacks on humans by Sumatran tigers.

Nine people have been savaged to death by tigers in the region so far this year and the number, say experts, could soar as the trees start to come down.

The threatened forest is home to about a quarter of the world’s remaining 400 wild Sumatran tigers.

The local elephants may also be under threat of extinction. (ANI)

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