Natural disasters containing humans are often found all over the news, newspapers and the web. Where people are in danger, News stations will battle amongst each other to get the best story, so why is it different for Wildlife?
Currently, the greatest disaster of the 21st century is happening in Indonesia, yet hardly anyone knows about it. 5,000km of Indonesian wildlife haven is burning away, children are being choked to death by the smoke and wildlife, well who knows what undiscovered species are perishing from the blaze. Not only is the fire destroying wildlife but it’s emitting Co2 far quicker than any annual emissions from any country. People have put their time into saving critically endangered species such as Orangutans, Sun Bears, Clouded Leopards, Sumatran Tigers, and Rhinos are all now fighting for their lives. These fantastic creatures are often featured in Zoos and articles about the Sun Bears and Orangutans in Britain, but what about their homes, their real families, their freedom. It’s barbaric to think people are more concerned about the creatures behind bars than protecting the species in their natural habitats, even with something as devastating as this- is it really not newsworthy, does it not compare to watching an over-paid actor prancing around the West End, to royalty wearing a dress costing the same as it would to send a rescue mission to help these species?
But there is a slight glimmer of hope for Orangutans at least. The Orangutan Project are extracting now orphans, mums and any Orangs they come across and taking them to safety. They have Veterinarians already taking care of the 16 orphans at their base-camp centre, but there are still more to come. These critically endangered Orangs are not out of the woods yet, the forest fires will continue to haunt them with respiratory infections, burns and teaching the youngsters to live by themselves in the wild. Conservationists are putting on their masks and heading into the forest to rescue any wildlife they can find and taking them to safety, but it’s easier said than done since these things cost money, money which nobody is willing to give to the organisations and the people trying to help wildlife. Money has been the topic of the majority of talk about the fires in Indonesia, it is estimated at US$14 billion so far as an economic cost of the fires.
It was announced by Indonesia’s Forestry Ministry that more than 4.2 million acres of forest and open land had been destroyed. Fires are often set intentionally to clear land cheaply for palm oil plantations but evidently it has gotten out of control. The wildlife such as Sumatran Tigers, Elephants and Orangutans had fled the burning forests and moved towards human-populated areas, this will cause conflict between humans and wildlife since species such as Elephants and Tigers need a large habitat. The worse is yet to come for these two species since a longstanding issue in Indonesia is the Western island of Sumatra has had many cases of farmers shooting wildlife elephants which have moved onto their plantations in search of food or rampaged through villages which once were their habitat. Tigers have been trapped and killed after killing farmers whilst hunting at night. Orangutans have been shot dead in their habitats in Sumatra or captured ready to be sold as pets.
The fire is likely to hurt agricultural production as well since bees are crucial to the pollination of apple, melons, potatoes, tomatoes and the like. Overall the fire has not only affected humans and wildlife but it has and will continue to affect the bond and relationships between the two since now there will be a battle for land and food in the remaining Rain Forest of Indonesia.
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