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 user 2005-06-14 at 10:55:00 am Views: 61
  • #11497
    Logging threatens Borneo species
    Conservationists are warning that the south-east Asian island
    of Borneo could lose almost all its lowland forest within a decade

    A report from the WWF says illegal logging and clearance for oil palm
    plantations is destroying the habitats of several animals.

    Orang-utan and pygmy elephants could become unviable in just 15 years.

    According to the WWF, 1.3m hectares of Borneo’s lowland forest is being
    destroyed each year.

    At that rate, it claims, by 2020 the remaining pockets of jungle may be too
    small and broken up for some species to be genetically viable.

    In other words, each tiny area of woodland that remains will not support a
    healthy breeding population of large animals like pygmy elephants or orang-utan.

    Wildlife paradise

    Just 55,000 orang-utan are thought to remain in Borneo, a decline of
    two-thirds since 1990.

    The biggest culprits are the illegal loggers. In the Indonesian south of the
    island, the trade is believed to be controlled by the army.

    Logs are often then smuggled into Malaysia, whose territory covers most of
    the north of Borneo.

    From there, the timber is shipped out, having been illegally relabelled as
    sustainably grown.

    Malaysia has recently moved to close illegal crossing points between the
    countries used by the loggers.

    But the trade continues and conservationists this week called on European
    governments to ban the import of illegal timber from countries like Indonesia
    and Malaysia.

    Borneo is the world’s third-largest island and a wildlife treasure trove.

    More than 350 new species have been discovered there in the last 10 years and
    the island is home to at least 44 types of mammal found nowhere else on Earth.