During his visit to the Mount Leuser National Park in northern Sumatra on March 26, Leonardo DiCaprio criticized Indonesia’s palm oil industry for destroying the country’s rain forests and endangering wildlife. The Oscar-winning actor took to Instagram to share how palm oil plantations, mining, logging and other developments were endangering local populations of Sumatran elephants, orangutans, rhinos and tigers.
The lowland #rainforest of the Leuser Ecosystem are considered the world’s best remaining habitat for the critically endangered Sumatran #elephant. In these forests, ancient elephant migratory paths are still used by some of the last #wild herds of Sumatran elephants. But the expansion of Palm Oil plantations is fragmenting the #forest and cutting off key elephant migratory corridors, making it more difficult for elephant families to find adequate sources of food and water. The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation is supporting local partners to establish a mega-fauna sanctuary in the Leuser Ecosystem, last place on Earth where Sumatran orangutans, tigers, rhinos and elephants coexist in the wild. Click the link in the bio to stand with @haka_sumatra as they fight to protect the Leuser Ecosystem. #SaveLeuserEcosystem #Indonesia
As the forest of the #Indonesian #LeuserEcosystem continues to be cleared to meet demand for Palm Oil, the critically endangered Sumatran #orangutan is being pushed to the brink of extinction. Here, at the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme’s Orangutan Quarantine Center, rescued orangutans are rehabilitated so they can be released back into the wild. If we don’t stop this rampant destruction, the Leuser Ecosystem and the Sumatran orangutans that call it home could be lost forever. Click the link in the bio to support this important work. #Indonesia
A photo posted by Leonardo DiCaprio (@leonardodicaprio) on
A world-class biodiversity hotspot, the #Indonesian Leuser Ecosystem is one of the most important areas of intact #rainforest left in Southeast Asia. Its forests are home to the densest remaining populations of the critically endangered Sumatran #orangutan. But Palm Oil expansion is destroying this unique place. Now is the time to save the Leuser Ecosystem. We must develop a permanent solution to protect and restore this valuable natural asset. Click the link in the bio to stand up and #SaveLeuserEcosystem. #Indonesia
According to the Associated Press, DiCaprio’s fiery posts caught the attention of immigration officials in Indonesia, and they are now threatening to ban him from ever entering the country again.
“If there are statements that discredit the government and the interests of Indonesia, he could be deported [if he enters the country again]. If he is in Indonesia for other purposes, by engaging in activities that disrupt public order and harm the interests of Indonesia, immigration authorities are ready to deport him,” Director General For Immigration Ronny Sompie told Republika.
“DiCaprio used his visit to discredit the palm oil industry and the Indonesian government. We support his concern to save the Leuser ecosystem, but we can blacklist him from returning to Indonesia at any time, if he keeps posting incitement or provocative statements in his social media,” warned Heru Santoso, spokesman for the Directorate General for Immigration at the Law and Human Rights Ministry.
UPDATE: Dr. Siti Nurbaya Bakar, Indonesia’s Minister of Environment and Forestry, told the Jakarta-based ForestHints.news that Leonardo DiCaprio will not be deported if he comes back to Indonesia.
“My view is that DiCaprio’s concerns are both sincere and substantial, and he has certainly acted in good faith. In fact, we largely share his concerns on this matter. In light of this and to reciprocate his sincerity and good intentions, I am open to working together with DiCaprio in a joint effort whereby both of us can have our concerns addressed, including those that pertain to the Leuser Ecosystem.”
According to the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, more than a third of large-scale oil palm expansion between 1990 and 2010, resulted in direct forest loss (about 3.5 million hectares in total) in Indonesia, Malaysia and Papua New Guinea. According to World Wildlife Fund, clearing rain forests for oil palm plantations has destroyed critical habitat for endangered species — like rhinos, elephants, tigers and orangutans — and pushed them to the verge of extinction.
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