Raquel Benson is a Senior Contributor to TDA, a journalism student, humanist, and artist with issues of chronic imagination. She may be brash, but it stems from a deeper concern for the world around her.
Animal Rights – Two Indonesian plantation workers were recently arrested for the alleged murder of (at least) 20 endangered orangutans and proboscis monkeys. The workers called it “pest control.”
Police spokesman, Colonel Antonius Wisnu Sutirta said that the suspects confessed to chasing the primates with dogs before viciously stabbing and hacking them to death. The men alleged that the owners of the Borneo Island plantations demanded that their cash crops be protected by any means necessary—offering rewards for every orangutan and proboscis killed.
If the workers are found guilty of violating the Indonesian law on natural resources conservation, the men could possibly face a (fair) five years in prison. The law was put into place because Indonesia is home to more than 90 percent of the orangutans left in the wild. Endangered from habitat loss (due to timber companies and the like) the remaining 50,000 apes live scattered through the sparse forests. As a result, this puts the primates in locations too-close-for-comfort with human conflict.
A study published in this month’s PLoSOne journal reported that villagers in Kalimantan, the Indonesian portion of Borneo, admitted to massacring over 750 orangutans. The study’s main author Erik Meijaard commented, “The simple conclusion is that orangutans will be hunted to extinction unless someone stops the killings. It’s a blatant infringement of Indonesia’s conservation laws. I really hope that both the perpetrators and the plantation managers who ordered the killings will be punished accordingly.”
Researcher from Mulawarnan Universities, Yaya Rayadin said, “The fact police have arrested two people is a sign of remarkable progress. But the main thing now is to find a way to protect the orangutans that are still alive.”
Read more at Guardian.