Senin, 28 November 2011

EMERGING EVIDENCE SHEDS SOME LIGHT ON ORANGUTAN KILLING CASE by Fardah

      Jakarta, Nov 28, 2011 (ANTARA) - At the beginning, some people considered a report on the slaughtering of Kalimantan (Borneo) orangutan (pongo pygmaeus morio) a "mere rumor" despite the fact that several photos showing dead orangutans were received by a local newspaper last September.
       The killings of orangutan often considered as pest by oil palm plantation companies, reportedly had occurred from 2009 to 2010 at Puan Cepak village, Muara Kaman sub district, Kutai Kartanegara District, East Kalimantan Province.

      Police have questioned tens of witnesses and sought some evidences following the photo publication and calls for an investigation on the case made by various quarters.
       However, collecting evidences was not an easy task. "Until now, we have not yet found the bones or skulls of orangutans reported to have been killed three or two years ago," Kutai Kartanegara Police Chief Senior Adjunct Commissioner I Gusti KB Harryarsana, said in Kutai on October 26, 2011.
       "Up to now, we have questioned 30 witnesses, including from companies operating at Puan Cepak village which was said to be the location of the orangutan slaughter," I Gusti said, adding that however, none of the witnesses said that they had heard or seen the slaughters.
       But, on October 29, Samarinda-based Mulawarman University`s Tropical Rain Forest Research Center (PPHT) managed to reconstruct orangutan bones handed over by local community living around the area of PT. Khaleda Agroprima Malindo (KAM) plantation, a subsidiary of Metro Kajang Holdings (MKH) Berhad of Malaysia, in Muara Kaman, Kutai Kartanegara district, East Kalimantan.
      This finding confirmed the information and photos on orangutan slaughter published in the local newspaper, the Center for Orangutan Protection (COP) said in a press statement recently.

The forest clearing for palm oil plantations is a major threat for the endangered orangutan in Kalimantan, according to COP, which estimated that at least 2400 to 12000 orangutans had been killed.

"The evidence is obvious. On the 3rd November 2011, an adult male orangutan was found battered in the palm oil plantation area owned by Malaysian. We suspected, the orangutan was badly tortured and suffered broken bones, so he was unable to move. This fact should be enough for BKSDA (the Regional Natural Resource Conservation Agency) to take the company management to the court in accordance with Indonesia`s Law No. 5/1990 concerning Conservation on Living Natural Resources and its Ecosystem," Daniek Hendarto, COP campaigner, said.

The East Kalimantan BKSDA also found orangutan bones at Puan Cepak village.

"Two days ago, we found bones most likely belonging to orangutans at Puan Cepak," East Kalimantan BKSDA Head Tandya Tjahyana said on November 24, 2011.

The Kutai Kartanegara police personnel also managed to find 85 bones of orangutan and monkeys at the same village.

Police have named at least four suspects and arrested two of them following the emerging of evidences.

"Based on the investigation by the Kukar and East Kalimantan Police offices today, we name and detain two new suspects, namely W bin W, 29 years old and a PT KAM employee, and PCH, 46 years old and a PT KAM senior manager," Inspector General Saud Usman Nasution, a spokesman of the Indonesian National Police, said in Jakarta on November 24, 2011.

W was suspected as the person who had recruited the main suspect, caught and shot orangutans. He had also provided the facilities.

PCH, reported a Malaysian national, was the person who had suggested and instructed the establishment of a team to hunt pests (including orangutans and monkeys) in the plantation area of PT KAM.

Police had earlier named two suspects, namely M alias G and M, in the Kalimantan orangutan and monkey killing case. The two suspects are pest eradication workers of PT KAM.

"For some others, we are still waiting for further investigation. For sure, whoever was involved in this case will be thoroughly processed, without discrimination, including the company`s employees or others," Saud said.

The National Police have grilled 25 witnesses in the orangutan and monkey killing case.

G and M admitted that they had killed the animals on instructions from PCH and A (PT KAM general manager) two years ago. They were paid Rp200,000 per one monkey and Rp1 million per orangutan.

They are now liable to a five-year jail sentence and payment of a Rp100 million-fine in accordance with Law No 5/1990 on Natural Resource Biodiversity and Ecosystem Conservation.

Senior Commissioner Antonius Wisnu Sutirta, a spokesman of the East Kalimantan Police, said on the phone from the East Kalimantan provincial capital of Samarinda, recently that the Kutai Kartanegara police would continue to investigate the case to find more evidence and possible suspects.

"According to the arrested suspects, they killed two orangutans and 20 monkeys , and the evidences included the animals` skeletons, an air rifle, spears and ropes," Wisnu said.

The suspects admitted to chasing down the primates with dogs, then shooting, stabbing or hacking them to death with machetes. They later took pictures of the dead animals as evidences to get payments from the company.

A spokesman of PT. KAM, however, has denied a report on the company`s involvement in the orangutan slaughter.

The Malaysian company had never made an order to kill orangutan, PT. KAM`s lawyer Dalmasius said in Samarinda on November 25.

"There has been no particular instruction on orangutan killing as reported in the media so far. PT. Khaleda plantation management only issued policy to control pests including orangutan by driving the animals away or relocate them," he said.

If there was killing of orangutan, there must be deviation of the company`s policy committed by employees or pest control executors, Dalmasius, who is also a lawyer of suspect PCH, said.

"In an internal meeting of PT. KAM managers in 2008, there was a report on psts that had damaged oil palm seedlings. The General Manager of PT. KAM, Aru, ordered the control against the pests such as rats, monkeys, porcupine, and orangutans," he said.

But, the pest control policy was stopped by PT. KAM directors in 2010, he said.

"After, deviation was found out, the company`s directors finally decided to stop it. The pest control policy was made by the plantation`s management without the consent of the directors. The policy was made by the general manager of PT KAM personally, and not the company," Dalmasius said.

The lawyer said the company supported the legal process being carried out in this case, but urged the police to maintain objectivity and proportional measures in dealing with the case.

He insisted that his client, P, was not guilty in that case because Aru was the one who made the policy. Aru is now at large and being sought by the Indonesian police.

Dalmasius heard that the policy had seized 20 receipts of payment for pest control services worth Rp20 million to Rp25 million per receipt.

According to COP, plantation destructive activities in Muara Kaman, East Kalimantan was putting the orangutan population on the brink of extinction.

Daniek even said the Malaysian company had shattered Indonesia`s reputation internationally.

He was worried that the world would see the Indonesian palm oil industry as brutal and they might refuse to buy the country`s palm oil products.

"Consumers will choose Malaysian palm oil products instead," he said in a press statement following a rally in front of the Malaysian embassy in Jakarta recently.

The forestry ministry`s forest investigation and security director, Raffles Brotestes Panjaitan, as quoted by national media said in in Jakarta on November 25 that in addition to PT KAM, the ministry suspected two other plantation companies of having killed orangutan in Central Kalimantan.

"The two are subsidiaries of Wilmar Group, their initials are PT STP and PT RHS," Raffles said, adding that investigation process is still going on.

According to a study, around 70 percent of orangutan habitats are in very vulnerable conditions because they are located outside conservation areas, a fact that could threaten the animal`s preservation,

Only 30 percent of the orangutan habitats was protected because they are inside conservation areas, Director of The Nature Conservancy (TNC) Niel Makinuddin said recently when launching the executive summary of the Kalimantan Orangutan Portrait.

Conflicts between orangutans and humans often occur when the endangered animals enter gardens or plantations and eat young plants or fruits.

"The local people consider orangutan as a pest because the animal eats fruits from their gardens," he said.

Niel also revealed the shocking fact that some people had killed orangutans for their meat. Around 700-1,800 orangutans had died in Kalimantan since 2007. Most of these people admitted that they had kill one or two orangutans annually.

"They are proud if they can kill more orangutans," he said. ***3***

(f001/A/HAJM/18:25/a014)
(T.F001/A/F001/A/A014) 28-11-2011 18:26:18

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