These heartbreaking images show endangered orangutans made homeless as farmers jeopardise their habitat.
The pictures show a troop of these magnificent creatures gathered near water at their reserve on Salat Island, Borneo, after being driven from wooded areas by illegal land clearing.
Satellites show that the number of such blazes across Borneo and Sumatra are increasing. The massive forest fires have caused a toxic haze which has spread as far as Singapore and peninsular Malaysia.
Jakarta has deployed thousands of troops as temporary fireman and deployed dozens of water-bombing aircraft to battle blazes that are turning pristine forest into charred landscape in Sumatra and Borneo islands.
The fires – usually started by illegal burning to clear land for farming – have unleashed a choking haze across parts of southeast Asia. The Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation said yesterday that the haze was affecting hundreds of great apes in its care at rescue centres and wildlife re-introduction shelters.
“The thick smoke does not only endanger the health of our staff… but also it affects the 355 orangutans we currently care for”, the foundation said in a statement, referring to just once centre in Kalimantan.
Annisa Rahmawati, forests campaigner at Greenpeace Indonesia added: “Forests from Brazil to the Boreal to Borneo are burning. We are facing a climate emergency and, aided and abetted by governments in Brazil, Indonesia, Europe, China and the USA among others, commodities like palm oil , soya and meat are driving forest destruction across the world.
“To stop climate breakdown, companies must take immediate and transformative action to drop suppliers linked to deforestation, and governments must address these crises with the urgency they deserve.”
This article was first published by The Sun on 17 September 2019.
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