Have you heard about those facts saying that Indonesia is the world's fastest forest destroyer? That every second Indonesia loses the forest area of a soccer field?
Just like most of you, at first I thought they are all overrated. Until one day I went to Medan by plane and I happened to look outside the window during flight when the plane was flying above Sumatera, and I witnessed by my own eyes that there was a big, brown hole in the middle of thin green area. Illegal logging. A tricky way to fool the citizens, or probably the rangers. I am sure that the forest looks totally fine outside, but as you walk more miles, you can see nothing but tractors and logs everywhere.
Of the 44 countries which collectively account for 90 percent of the world's forests, the country which pursues the highest annual rate of deforestation is Indonesia with 1.8 million hectares (4.4 million acres) of forest destroyed each year between 2000-2005. Indonesia has lost 72 percent of its intact ancient forests and half of what remains is threatened by commercial logging, forest fires and clearances for palm oil plantations, Greenpeace said. While Indonesia was destroying its forests at a faster pace than any other country, Brazil destroyed a larger area of forest every year. The group said Indonesia's rate of forest destruction also made the country the third-largest greenhouse polluter after the United States and China.
Other sources mentioned that most of Indonesia’s forests are found in the Indonesian half of New Guinea, and on the islands of Borneo and Sumatra. The forests of Indonesia represent 10% of the world’s remaining tropical forests. Indonesia’s forests are the second largest in the world after the forests of Brazil. Unfortunately, over the years Indonesia has lost up to 80% of its original forest habitat and continues to lose 6.2 million acres (2,509,051 hectares) a year. Indonesia entered the Guinness Book of World Records in 2008 and 2009 for having the highest rate of deforestation of any country in the world.
Of so many problems which happened to rise on my beloved country, I choose to post something about this matter: Environment. Not that I try to be cool by acting like I care about it, I don't need to pretend because I have to care. Environment is about the earth, the place we are living in. Even though some may say that the experts found other planet for us to live in, what lies in front of my eyes right now is the earth. And it is obviously dying.
The forests of Indonesia, along with their thousands of plant and animal species, are being destroyed at an alarming rate due to massive illegal logging and clearing for palm oil plantations. Indonesia’s tropical forests are of global importance, covering over 98 million hectares (242,163,274 acres). The rapid deterioration of tropical forests is causing incalculable losses in terms of biodiversity and is pushing species ever closer to extinction.
Since environment is a wide topic to talk about, I'd like to be more specific. Forest clearing for palm oil plantation. Forest destruction for the sake of enriching the richies. Giving more money to the big fat pockets by destroying house of hundreds of living things since 12%of all mammal species, 16% of reptile and amphibian species, and 17% of bird species are found on the 17,000 islands that constitute Indonesia. Of Indonesian species, 772 species are threatened or endangered, giving Indonesia the third highest number of threatened species of any country in the world. Of Indonesia’s approximately 40 primate species, 20 have lost more than half their original habitat in the last ten years: including Orangutans.
Until twelve and a half thousand years ago, orangutans were found throughout Southeast Asia ranging all the way to the island of Java and into southern China. Orangutan populations probably numbered in the hundreds of thousands, possibly millions. Today, however, the few orangutans left in the tropical rain forests of Borneo and Sumatra number less than 60,000. Approximately 7,300 are found in northern Sumatra in the Indonesian provinces of Aceh and North Sumatra while the rest are found in Borneo, in the Indonesian provinces of Kalimantan Tengah (Central Indonesian Borneo), Kalimantan Barat (West Indonesian Borneo), and Kalimantan Timur (East Indonesian Borneo) and the Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak in the northern third of Borneo. Kalimantan Tengah (Central Indonesian Borneo) is the orangutan capital of the world with more than 50% of all wild orangutans found there. (data source: orangutan.org)
Why do I care?
Because this afternoon, I opened facebook and I saw tragic pictures of a burned orang utan. Villagers tried to smoke an orangutan out of a fruit tree where he was sheltering accidentally set him on fire. It had been hiding in the leaves above the village of Lower Wajok in West Kalimantan, Indonesia, because its habitat had been disturbed for the sake of palm oil plantations, wildlife experts said. Locals concerned that it would eat the fruit from the rambutan tree and destroying their crops tried to make it move on by lighting a fire under it.
Isn't it ironic? Aren't we the one who went to their place, destroy it and claim it as ours? Then we take advantage of it and just leave when the land area loses its ability to give u profits? What about the other animals that used to live there? What about their little babies? Why are we, the so-called-most-intelligent-creature-on-earth loses our ability to think rationally?
We never seem to care that they are endangered. So what if they are endangered? Well, so what if someone run over at midnight to burn your house and kill your family? So what if some stranger take your kids from your wife who holds them tight because she was afraid, kill her in front of your kids eyes then they just either kidnap your kids or cut off their fingers and let them bleed to death? Or what if someone kidnap your sister, tie her on a mattress and make her a sex slave for those who believe that having sex with her will grant them fortune so that they can win the lottery?
Because those are things which happened to Orangutans.
Meet Sidney, an orangutan baby. He was almost 6 month-old when he lost his mother. His mother was buried in front of his eyes, its wrists was bonded, and somebody cut one of its fingers off. If Sidney was a teenager who understood the Indonesia law, therefore he would prosecute the people who had killed his mother.
Meet Pony. She is an orangutan from a small village in Borneo, where they cut down the rain forest to render the palm oil. She was found chained to a wall, lying on a mattress. She had been shaved all over her body. She was being used as a sex slave. Yes. Sex Slave. You could choose a human if you preferred, but it was a novelty for many of the men to have sex with an orangutan. As what have mentioned by Vice Magazine, they shaved her every other day, which meant that her skin had all these pimples and was very irritated. The mosquitoes would get to her very badly and the bites would become septic and be very infected, as she would scratch them constantly. They would put rings and necklaces on her. She was absolutely hideous to look at.
I start to think what can I do to fix this. I cannot leave my education to volunteer on any Orang Utan Rescue in Borneo, I am not that rich to give donation to those groups either: pretty much the irony of being young, knowing that the world is falling apart but I can do nothing at the moment. So I decided to post and share, in hope that someone, anyone out there will be as touched as I am to help in any way. To save not only Orangutan, but hundreds or thousands of other species in this world.
Human might be the most intelligent creature on earth, but we are not the owner of this earth. This earth belongs to all of us, including these orangutans or any elephants which happened to 'intrude' your farm.
This is the furthest I am capable to do at the moment, but I promise that as I grow older, I will make a real act to save the other 'earth owners'.
I hope the picture of baby orangutan makes your day, I hope you can see them with your bare eyes, so do your grandchildren, 40 or 50 years from now.
(Photo by Trisha Shears/Creative Commons).