Kalimantan's orangutan population decreases significantly: COP

The Jakarta Post , Jakarta   |  Thu, 05/14/2009 3:04 PM  |  National

The Centre for Orangutan Protection (COP) has recorded a significant decrease in the population of the morio (Pongo Pygmaeus Morio) orangutan in Kutai National Park, East Kalimantan.

The National Forest is currently home to between 30 and 60 orangutans of the sub-species, down from 600 recorded in 2004, COP Habitat Campaign Manager, Yon Thayrun, said to state news agency Antara.

According to Yon, politicians and state officials were to blame for letting and even supporting the constant illegal deforestation in the park.

In 2002, The East Kalimantan government, with the permission of the Forestry Ministry, built the 60 kilometer long Bontang-Sengata road, which cuts across the park, Yon said.

He added that the construction of the road destroyed the habitat of orangutans and lead to widescale deforestation. Between 22,000 and 70,000 people have contributed to the deforestation of 23,712 acres of the Kutai National Park.

Yon said the park was turning into a city, with an airport, gas stations, and red light district.

The COP has urged the Corruption Eradication Commission to enforce the law in order to preserve endangered orangutans in the Kutai National Forest.

“The best solution is to seize and put the corrupt politicians and officials to jail. This will make their supporters leave the forest and stop all illegal activities,” he said.