Plight of orangutans highlighted with new rock song

mongabay:  17 January 2012

An Indonesian rock band, Navicula, is highlighting the plight of orangutans in their native country through a new song entitled, aptly, "Orangutan." The band has created a music video for the song, including footage of a documentary, Green: The Film that follows a starving female orangutan named Green. The band "dedicated the song to encourage people to do more in orangutan conservation, to protect this endangered species."

The orangutan is imperiled in Indonesia largely due to habitat loss for palm oil plantations and logging for pulp and paper plantations, but also hunting and killing the great apes as agricultural pests are additional problems. In fact, a recent study in PLoS One found that conflict between orangutans and humans proved worst in areas that have been converted for timber, wood-pulp, or palm oil. It concluded that orangutans are currently being killed at a rate faster than they can reproduce, suggesting orangutans could go extinct outside protected areas.

Along this line, recent news in Indonesia has focused on plantations allowing workers to kill orangutans. In one instance a Malaysian palm oil plantation company operating East Kalimantan was found to have been paying a bounty of $110 to workers for each orangutan they killed. Since the news broke, two major plantation companies, PT SMART and APP, have signed a zero-tolerance pledge for killing orangutans in their plantations.

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