Act Now for Orangutans campaign that features Spanish soccer star Carles Puyol advocating on behalf of Asia’s endangered apes is expanding into new markets with the release of posters in Russian and Japanese.
The posters carry the familiar “I Care – Do You?” challenge from Puyol, along with information regarding the Act Now campaign and website.
Act Now for Orangutans is a joint campaign from the United Nations Great Apes Survival Partnership (GRASP) and International Animal Rescue (IAR) that seeks to halt the orangutan’s dramatic slide towards extinction. Less than 66,000 wild orangutans are thought to remain in the forests of Borneo and Sumatra, and more than half of that population has been lost since 1950.
Act Now debuted in December in English, Spanish and Bahasa Indonesian, and has already reached an on-line audience of more than one million through its web, Facebook and Twitter posts. Media coverage has appeared in over 80 countries in 17 languages, and the Act Now website has received nearly 7,500 visitors.
The website (www.actnowfororangutans.org) offers information on orangutan conservation, re-forestation, and the impact of palm oil production on orang-utan habitat.
An experimental program that uses a model drone airplane to conduct aerial surveys of vital rainforest habitat in Indonesia has quickly proven a success – returning with images of both orangutans and the sad effects of deforestation.
The radio-controlled drone was tested recently in Indonesia, and relayed images that would previously have only been possible with low-flying airplanes. Those flights, however, are both dangerous and prohibitively expensive.
The thick forest canopy in Indonesia makes visual identification difficult of orangutans in the high treetops. But the drone’s mounted cameras clearly showed orangutans nesting in the trees.
It is believed that systematic drone flights will be a valuable tool in developing accurate counts as to the number of orangutans left in the wild, which previously had been estimates.
Four men went on trial in Borneo on February 8, accused of killing orangutans and other endangered primates for profit at a palm oil plantation.
Phuah Chuan Hun, manager of the plantation in East Kalimantan, and his employee, Widiantoro, paid two men to kill orangutans and proboscis monkeys, prosecutors claimed. They and the two alleged killers, Imam Muhtarom and Mujianto, face five years in prison if convicted.
According to news agency AFP, prosecutors allege the men were paid one million rupiah (USD $111) for each orangutan and 200,000 rupiah (USD $22) for other monkeys. The two used a 4.5-millimetre calibre airsoft gun to shoot the orangutans out of trees before their hunting dogs chased them.
Prosecutors claim Muhtarom and Mujianto would then club the orangutans with rocks or wooden sticks before binding their corpses and taking photographs as evidence.