“It is our Indonesian’s orangutans, why are we always seeing white people doing protection?,” says Reza, leader of APE Defender of COP, with his eyes glittering, ‘Why do we Indonesians, we yellow race, rarely take part in protecting Orangutans, Sapiens of our forests?’ His words indeed impressed me and made me ponder whether there are roles for us Chinese people as well that we should take.

Decades ago, Kalimantan Island had a forest coverage rate of eighty percent. However, in the middle of the 1980s, forest area in Kalimantan extensively decreased twenty-five percent and it kept the annual decreasing area of 1.3 billion hectares. This means orangutans’ living habitat was disappearing at the same speed and most of the destroyed area had been used for planting palm trees. Because of covering of palm oil plantation, orangutans lose their major resource of food. Sometimes they are so hungry that they come into palm tree forests and eat small palm trees, their only food coming. As a result, palm oil companies called orangutans as ‘pests’ and found excuses to brutally kill them.

Till 2016, the number of orangutans has decreased around sixty percent. Under this situation, Hardi, once worked as an assistant to Lone Droscher Nielsen at the Nyarumenteng Orangutan Reintroduction Centre/ BOSF (Borneo Orangutan Survive Foundation), set up COP (Center of Orangutan Protection) to fight directly with palm oil plantation companies and save orangutans. Despise the risk of being arrested, COP members enter palm oil plantation to collect evidences of orangutans being killed. In this way, those palm oil companies will have no chance to sell their palm oil because they cannot get permits from RSPO (Roundtable of Sustainable Palm Oil). Also, COP members visit schools, organize exhibitions, and hold concerts to attract more people to pay attention to orangutans. Their advocates are an essential part of orangutan protection.

As a member of the first Chinese volunteer groups to visit COP Borneo in August 2017, we stayed there for a week. We studied orangutans’ situation, made activity space for baby orangutans, prepared food for orangutans in island, and observed orangutans’ daily. (Zi Chen, Jiawei Yang_Orangufriends)



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