GRASP Patrons Ask Indonesian President to Intervene to Save Orangutans
Nairobi, April 13, 2012 – Characterizing Indonesia’s biodiversity as under “extreme threat,” the patrons of the Great Apes Survival Partnership (GRASP) – Jane Goodall, Richard Leakey, Richard Wrangham and Russell Mittermeier – today sent a letter to the President of Indonesia asking him to halt the destruction currently underway in Sumatra and enforce laws that protect orangutans and their habitat.
The letter was sent to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in response to man-made fires in the Leuser Ecosystem that were set to clear rainforest for oil palm plantations through allegedly illegal permits.
To read the letter, click here.
Experts fear that as many as 300 orangutans could perish in the fires. The Sumatran orangutan is classified as critically endangered, and no more than 6,300 are believed to exist in the wild.
The fires have also damaged the region’s ecosystem. A 2011 report issued by GRASP and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) called the Leuser Ecosystem as an “incredibly important area for conservation.”
The GRASP patrons, widely recognized as leaders in great ape conservation and research, have asked that President Yudhoyono suspend all agricultural activity in the region, enforce laws protecting orangutans and their habitat, and uphold commitments made through the Kinshasa Declaration on Great Apes.
GRASP, a unique alliance comprised of member nations, conservation organizations, United Nations agencies, and private supporters, was created in 2001 to protect great apes and their habitat in Africa and Asia.