Leuser Ecosystem - Racing Extinction of Our Last Mega Fauna Species
Racing Extinction to Highlight the Destruction Facing Leuser Ecosystem
Leuser Ecosystem's dense forests supports abundant prey species, and it contains the last viable populations of Sumatran tigers and rhinos.
In the Leuser, orangutans number in the thousands. Great herds of Sumatran elephants can still be found within its lowland forests, alongside sun bears, clouded leopards and hundreds of bird species.
Racing Extinction, a new documentary by Academy Award-Winner Louie Psihoyos on Discovery Channel, highlights the plight of the last remaining species in Leuser Ecosystem and has committed to bring the Racing Extinction campaign to bring action for the world to save Leuser Ecosystem.
"It is among the most biodiverse and ancient ecosystems ever documented by science. At 6.5 million acres, the Leuser Ecosystem is a world of its own. And now we are facing our last chance to get it right and save this majestic place – one of the last of its kind.
“Many children are sick now from the smoke––it’s been like this for three months already,” Mr Sayuti says. “All of the community has been working around the clock to put out the fires on the local palm oil concessions, but unless the rain comes, the fires will just keep burning. The peat is very deep. The fires are much worse this year.”
He blames the plantations for cutting down too much forest. “Now we have small blocks of forest that don’t link up,” he says. “Tigers and elephants are forced to move in and out of these areas just to survive. When I was young, we’d see tigers all the time, but now there are only a few left. I only dream of tigers now.”
In November, Rainforest Action Network released a new report "The Last Place on Earth" exposing the “Conflict Palm Oil Culprits” responsible for the ongoing destruction of the lowland rainforests and peatlands of the Leuser Ecosystem.
The report names Wilmar International, Musim Mas Group and Golden Agri Resources as the “Big Three Buyers” of palm oil from the Leuser Ecosystem region and outlines the steps that they, and government officials, need to take to protect endangered species and community livelihoods from encroaching Conflict Palm Oil development.
Global consumer companies and traders must face up to their role in fuelling this disaster. Existing ‘No Deforestation’ policies and Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) membership are not enough.
Although reports like this and ongoing public pressure have convinced many of the world’s biggest companies to commit to cut Conflict Palm Oil from their supply chains, the fact is these paper promises alone will not stop the imminent threat of extinction that’s eating away at the Leuser Ecosystem. We are racing extinction in the Leuser Ecosystem, but together we can turn this around.
As ecosystems continue to fall and global leaders gather for climate talks in Paris to decide whether or not the world’s forests will be razed for palm oil and pulp, or protected, there is an opportunity to drive real change – from the ground up. Now is the time to take action.
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