Have we got some really exciting news to share with you!
After years of exposing threats to Indonesia’s Leuser Ecosystem, a coalition — including major palm oil companies — has announced a NEW rhino sanctuary and breeding centre! This is a HUGE WIN for endangered Sumatran rhinos, and all of their neighbors, and a big, big reason we’re extra happy to be celebrating World Rhino Day with you!
With fewer than 80 critically endangered Sumatran rhinos left in the wild, this sanctuary — and the protection of surrounding rainforests in the Leuser Ecosystem — is so important to their survival. And we have YOU to thank for this historic announcement!
This kind of success comes as a direct result of years of monitoring, investigating, and exposing the threats to this special part of the world but it also comes from your relentless chorus of voices calling on the biggest players to put an end to the destruction. The fate of the smallest and hairiest of the world’s rhinoceros just got a little brighter thanks to you.
The ultimate survival of these shy, forest rhinos now depends on the protection of their habitat and success of this new rhino sanctuary being established in the Aceh Timur region of northern Sumatra, an area known both as a global epicentre of biodiversity and also for severe deforestation for Conflict Palm Oil. Sumatran rhinos, especially sensitive to human incursion, need intact habitat where they can find each other and engage in courtship undisturbed and uninterrupted.
The sanctuary is an initiative between the local, district, provincial, and national governments of Indonesia, international and Acehnese NGOs, universities, and palm oil producers and will be built on the forest edge of the northeast Leuser Ecosystem.
Cooperation of this nature is so welcome and represents just the kind of innovative conservation approaches needed to save all of the endangered species that call the Leuser Ecosystem home. This breakthrough agreement sets a precedent by demonstrating that the Indonesian Ministry of Forestry and Environment and provincial and district governments in Aceh can work together with local stakeholders to stop deforestation caused by commodity production in one of the world’s last, and most important, tropical rainforests.
But this wasn’t an easy road.
Two palm oil companies — both repeat-offender forest destroyers and the subjects of multiple Rainforest Action Network reports and field investigations — have either joined the coalition or helped make this possible by declaring new conservation reserves in forest areas they intended to clear for new palm oil plantations. Both companies were excluded from the supply chains of major brands due to their failure to comply with the brands’ no-deforestation commitments. So this protection of remaining forests and support for the rhino sanctuary represents their first steps in demonstrating a commitment to their promises to become responsible palm oil companies.
With your continued support, RAN will maintain vigilant oversight to expose other palm oil companies destroying neighbouring forests and seek an end to deforestation for Conflict Palm Oil in the Leuser Ecosystem … for good.
We know we can’t save the rainforest in one day — but we CAN all chip in now to show Big Agribusiness that we’re not going to tolerate their rainforest-destroying greed. We need successful breeding of the last fertile rhinos in sanctuaries, an end to deforestation for palm oil and pulp plantations, and bigger steps towards legal protection of their last remaining intact rainforest habitat.
This new sanctuary sets an amazing precedent proving that we can all work together to stop deforestation caused by Big Agribusiness. We can’t tell you just how important these locally-led conservation efforts are and how critical it is for people across the globe to continue taking action to hold major brands accountable for their role in driving the Sumatran rhino towards extinction.
If we’re going to save the last remaining populations of Sumatran rhinos, tigers, elephants, and orangutans, we must defend their habitats against deforestation — we must keep forests standing!