TEMPO Interactive, Jakarta:Forest clearing is threatening 236 plant species and 51 animal species in Kalimantan with exctinction. Orangutans, owa monkeys and tarsius are the most endangered animals. “They are losing their sources of food and water,” head of the Center of Orangutan Protection, Hardi Baktiantoro, told reporters yesterday. He said cutting down forests to clear areas for palm oil plantations is the biggest threat because it changes the total structure of the area.
Hardi views the plummeting crude palm oil prices in the international market has not given any significant impact because forest clearings are still being carried out. Companies also profit by the sale of logs resulting from the clearing. “This is a long-term business. They keep opening the lands while waiting for prices to go up again,” he said.
The number of animals, especially orangutans, is declining as fast as 9 – 10 percent a year. According to Hardi, if nothing is done to prevent this, around 8.400 orangutans outside the protected forest will disappear within three years.