HSI urges Australian Labor Party and Coalition to fund orangutan and tropical forest conservation programs in Indonesia
On World Orangutan Day, Humane Society International (HSI) is calling upon all political parties to commit to funding new orangutan and tropical forest conservation activities in Indonesia, particularly activities undertaken by non-government organisations.
HSI Director Michael Kennedy said, “Australia is one of the few western nations that does not have a specialised international grants program that supports non-government organisations in developing countries to conserve orangutans and all threatened wildlife and habitats in the region.”
“Orangutans are in a state of global emergency – facing an extinction dilemma that has never been more threatening or potentially devastating. The United Nations Environment Program, among many other international conservation agencies, has issued warnings and a cry for help, stressing the alarming degree to which the world’s orangutans are in deep crisis,” continued Mr Kennedy.
Once ranging throughout South-East Asia, the orangutan now occupies only small pockets of habitat on the islands of Borneo and Sumatra. The wild population has decreased 95% in the last 100 years, with most of that decline occurring in the last 20 years. Their tropical rainforest homes are being devastated by the palm oil plantation industry and industrial scale logging.
Mr Kennedy concluded, “HSI is calling upon all political parties to: establish a regional biodiversity conservation program to help Australia’s biodiverse neighbours (particularly Indonesia), by providing an NGO grants program that supports on-ground environmental work; provide matching dollar for dollar funds for HSI’s “Extinction Denied” regional conservation grants program; and join the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF), a global biodiversity hotspots program managed by the Global Environment Fund, the MacArthur Foundation, the World Bank, Conservation International and the Governments of France and Japan.”
There is a crisis in natural resource management in S.E. Asia, and the Australian Government must step up to the plate for the sake of the region’s long-term environmental security.