11/22/2011, 00.00
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Borneo, activists denounce slaughter of orangutans

by Mathias Hariyadi
The animals are victims of a slaughter campaign that began in 2008 and continues through the connivance of police and authorities. Behind the killings companies that own the palm trees plantations. The crops have taken the place of the forest, altering the natural habitat of the primates.
Jakarta (AsiaNews) - The orangutans of Borneo are victims of a campaign of mass slaughter that began in 2008, which threatens the very survival of the rare species. The presence of primates in East Kalimantan, in fact, is considered a serious obstacle to the spread of palm oil plantations in the region. Instead of protecting the endangered primates from illegal trade and slaughter, the authorities have covered up the massacres along until reports started appearing in local media last week.

Alerted by the activists, the police inspected the area Puan Cepak, in the sub-district of Kuta Kartanegara, but did not take any action because of obvious "lack of evidence". Awang Farouk Ishak, Governor of the province of East Kalimantan, also spoke on the matter stating "there is no actual massacre." However, the media campaign launched by the national newspapers has forced the police to deepen their inquiry.

Local activists and environmentalists from Mulawarman University in Samarinda, the provincial capital, led by Professor Yaya Rayadin have been carrying out surveys and studies. He can confirm that since 2008 the veritable massacre of the orangutan has been taking place, particularly in palm plantations - which over time have taken more and more space from forests - owned by a Malaysian company. The orangutan can also adapt to new habitat, the scientist points out, feeding on the same palm. That's why the animals have become a hunting target, regarded as "predators" who can eat "up to 40 plants per day."

In recent days during a raid, police arrested two people suspected of having killed several specimens for the money. For the killing of just one primate, poachers receive 200 thousand rupees (about 22 dollars), the price can arrive at 1 million rupees (120 dollars) in case of an orangutan. The two arrested confessed to having killed 20 in the period 2008-2010, however, investigators believe that the number is far higher. Two senior officials of the Malaysian company are also in the sights of investigating police, considered the architects of the slaughter campaign.

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