As soon as the existence of a new Indonesian orangutan species was confirmed by scientists in 2017, it became clear that all 800 individuals are in immediate and long-term danger from a major project to build the island of Sumatra’s largest hydroelectric dam. The dam builder, PT North Sumatra Hydro Energy, backed in part by the Bank of China, is moving quickly to clear significant areas within the pristine forest home of the newly discovered so-called Tapanuli orangutan.
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2016 Arcus Report Highlights Courageous Activists Taking Steps to Ensure Social and Environmental Justice
The year 2016 brought major geopolitical shifts and new challenges for those with a stake in Arcus’ mission. There’s no question that Arcus’ work has grown harder since our last annual report, but our commitment to the work has never been stronger.
Conservation groups in Indonesia’s Aceh province have appealed a November 2016 ruling by a court in the country’s capital, which dismissed a case seeking to ensure the protected status of one of the world’s most fragile and biodiverse environments, home to the critically endangered Sumatran orangutan (Pongo abelii). The case, brought to the Central Jakarta District Court by a group of nine citizens, had sought to force the Aceh government to safeguard the 8,500-square-mile Leuser Ecosystem within a land-use plan intended to bring economic growth to the province, situated on the country’s largest island, Sumatra.
A 29-year-old Indonesian student caught trying to sell baby Sumatran orangutans on Facebook in November 2015 became the first wildlife trafficker to be jailed in the country’s Aceh province under a 1990 anti-poaching law. Enforcement of this law was a solid victory for conservationists racing to ensure the survival of the critically endangered orangutan, whose population on Sumatra (see map), a major island in the western part of the Indonesian archipelago, stands at 6,500.