“It is estimated that only 50,000 orangutans remain in the wild. The fate of the orangutan is tied to Indonesia forests,” said Mr. Fedotov. “Each year, Indonesia loses 1.6 – 2.8 million hectares of forests annually. This is equivalent to losing 4 – 7 football pitches per minute. To save endangered species like the orangutan, we must stop the illegal timber trade and save the forests of Indonesia.”
The orangutan is an emblematic animal representing vulnerability to deforestation. Orangutans generally live in close proximity to their birthplace. When they begin to migrate, it is a clear indicator that their habitat is under severe stress. Most of the orangutans which have come under the care of provincial authorities have been displaced by the destruction of their forest homes through illegal logging as well as land clearances for the expansion of palm oil plantations.
“Today the story of the illegal timber trade is a story of violence, killings, corruption and money-laundering,” said Mr. Fedotov speaking in Indonesia’s Central Kalimantan province. “Along with good governance in the forestry sector, we need better law enforcement, prosecution effective sentencing of perpetrators to fight impunity and ensure that the white-collar masterminds of these atrocities are subjected to the appropriate penalties.”
Mr. Fedotov made his comments while visiting Nyaru Menteng Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre in Central Kalimantan to mark last week’s International Anti-Corruption Day and to demonstrate UNODC’s commitment to addressing environmental crimes and their linkages with corruption.
“Given the transnational nature of environmental crimes, it is necessary to forge partnerships to increase our reach and to speed progress,” Mr. Fedotov said. “The creation of the International Consortium on Combating Wildlife Crime (ICCWC) – a collaboration that unites UNODC, INTERPOL, the World Bank, the World Customs Organization and CITES – is just one example of the coordinated responses we need to save our planet.”
In Kalimantan, Mr. Fedotov commended the Indonesian Government’s efforts in addressing environmental crimes and reiterated UNODC’s readiness to support initiatives in the province – particularly by supporting the Governor’s initiative in having the Central Kalimantan province selected as the pilot province for the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) initiative.