Save the Orangutan, Save the Planet.
When people debate climate change, there is a great deal of discussion about the impact of deforestation and forest degradation and the role of forest management in maintaining the global climate. This debate also stresses the impact of climate change on biodiversity, and this aspect of the debate highlights the challenge of orangutan conservation.
Orangutan are, sadly, on the list of animals that are sliding closer and closer to extinction, with the Sumatran orangutan already listed as critically endangered with numbers having fallen by 80% in the last 75 years.
In Borneo, home to a second orangutan species, Pongo pygmaeus, deforestation and forest degradation have greatly reduced the orangutans habitat, and the fragmentation of parts of the Bornean forest has seen many orangutan become isolated. The population of Pongo pygmaeus currently stands at around 41,000 individuals, which has led to them being listed on the endangered species Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
Borneo Orangutan Survival (BOS) recognizes that there will be no future for the orangutans unless their habitats are better protected, and that the extinction of the orangutans is another step in the destruction of global biodiversity that will ultimately lead to the extinction of humankind. In response to this, BOS has undertaken an initiative to conserve the orangutan through a focused reintroduction and habitat restoration program, and I would like to highly commend them for this initiative.
The biodiversity of the forests of Kalimantan, or Borneo, is closely linked to the well being of the orangutan: a healthy orangutan indicates a rich and fertile habitat and thus a healthy ecosystem. Now, more than ever, the orangutan needs our help. Rapid development, natural disasters and human negligence have pushed the orangutan to the brink of extinction, and saving the orangutan is essential to maintaining sustainable ecosystems.
Saving the orangutan, saving the forests, saving the planet. This is a difficult task that can only be achieved through cooperative efforts, and in this regard I am very pleased to note the work of the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation (BOSF) Japan, which has ongoing programs to help rescue Pongo pygmaeus through rehabilitation centers, environmental fieldwork, awareness building, and charity events. Their hard work and concern is commended and supported by the Government and people of Indonesia, and I hope and trust that the BOSF will continue in their endeavors.
Protecting the environment and pursuing sustainable development are two essential and interconnected concerns for our planet. We have seen commitments undertaken in multilateral and bilateral forums, and now is the time for these global partnerships to be brought into action. This task will take some time and a great deal of patience, but I am confident that by working together we can one day celebrate the revival of the Borneo orangutan and the rejuvenation of our forests.