HSI fully supports the recent findings of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) report entitled 'The Last Stand of the Orangutan - State of Emergency: Illegal logging, fire and palm oil in Indonesia's National Parks:' The recommendations relate particularly to the need for para-military type patrol units for securing national parks and the requirement to significantly step up intelligence and enforcement activities.
At present, we are continuing a two year program to fund important Orangutan - human conflict/interaction research in Northern Sumatra, with the Born Free Foundation, the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Program and the Durrell Institute of Conservation Ecology. The project is called 'Bittersweet knowledge - can people and Orangutans live in harmony' , and the work is progressing well. The program aims to recommend mitigation techniques for avoiding fatal Orangutan-human conflict in agricultural regions.
Continuing resources are being provided to our major partners in Indonesia, the Friends of the National Parks Foundation (FNPF), for their ongoing 'Integrated Conservation & Development' project, which includes Orangutan conservation efforts in Tanjung Puting National Park in Kalimantan. FNPF's Kalimantan program has also successfully gained funding in the past from the Commonwealth's Regional Natural Heritage Program, a program which HSI helped to establish.
During 2007, HSI was also successful in working with the Australian Government's 'Volunteering for International Development from Australia' program, to find FNPF a fundraiser/administrator to help progress their conservation work. Also during 2007, working with the Rainforest Information Centre and Indonesian NGOs, HSI made financial contributions to education programs in Kalimantan, to help fight the growing problem of palm oil plantations and the extremely negative effects upon Orangutans.
We have continued to support the UNEP GRASP (Great Ape Survival Project) Secretariat in Australia, which has been prioritising a campaign against palm-oil importation, while HSI Australia became a Partner in the international GRASP conservation efforts.
In 2008, while continuing to support solution oriented work into Orangutan-human conflict in Northern Sumatra and the work of FNPF in Kalimantan, we shall also be investing in new programs to combat the ongoing threats to Orangutan populations in Indonesia.
Peter O'Brien visits the Orangutan Sanctuary in Borneo
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Image courtesy of Michael Kennedy