Orangutan expert Dr Ian Singleton, in New Zealand for an Auckland Zoo-hosted public talk this month, is urging Kiwis to support a petition to protect vital forest for orangutans, tigers, elephants and rhinos in North Sumatra.
The world-renowned Sumatran based conservationist, who will speak at Auckland’s Bruce Mason Centre at 7pm on 19 August (International Orangutan Day), says Aceh Province’s Leuser Ecosystem is a biodiversity hotspot in jeopardy. It comprises 2.6 million hectares of protected rainforest, and is the only place on earth where these four critically endangered species roam together in the wild.
"Right now, the Aceh Governor is being pressured by Aceh’s parliament to sign a new law that would enable new road, timber, mining and plantation concessions and destroy huge tracts of this forest," says Dr Singleton.
"The Leuser Ecosystem is one of the most important conservation areas on earth, and home to 85% of the remaining wild Sumatran orangutan population. Whether or not we have these magnificent great apes, and Sumatran elephants, rhinos and tigers in 15 years’ time will depend on decisions being made today. It’s that serious. New Zealanders, for these and a myriad of other threatened species in this area, please sign and share the petition at change.org/leuserheritage to protect this vital forest."
Dr Singleton, who has dedicated his life to conserving the orangutan, is Director of the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme (SOCP), a project Auckland Zoo has supported for over 12 years, and is co-founder of Earth 4 Orangutans.
In his Auckland talk, ‘In Your Hands’, Dr Singleton will share his inspirational journey, latest news and activities from the field, and what’s needed to ensure a future for this most peaceful of primates we’re so closely related to - renowned for its vital role as the ‘gardener of the forest’.
Tickets to Dr Singleton’s fundraising talk ‘In Your Hands’, are $20, and available from Auckland Zoo. Phone (09) 360 3805. All profits will go to Earth 4 Orangutans - to establish an Orangutan Haven and Conservation Education Centre in North Sumatra. Visit www.earth4orangutans www.sumatranorangutan.org and www.aucklandzoo.co.nz