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harry_ej
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I just came back from a visit of Kalimantan. I flew over much of t he south part and west of the island and the interior. I also visited many places. I spoke with many environmentalists and all claim that the current fires are a lot worse and a bigger disaster then the 1998 fires that destroyed 3 million hectares of primay forest and 2 million hectares of peat and secundary forest and plantation forest/scrub.
I just came back from a visit to the doctor this day. My lungs are full of tar and dirt even iīm a none smoker.

Hardest hit is the peat forest and primary forest area triangle between Banjarmasin and palangkaraya/Pankalanbum. This is in the south of the iisland. Environmentalists i spoke think that an estimated 2 million hectares of bog and peat and high stand forest is being destroyed/on fire there at the moment. Inland in this area are a lot of Orang Hutan areaīs, many of them are fleeing to nearby Oil palm plantations to seek shelter, in most cases these Monkeys are welcomed by barrages of gunfire from plantation workers who shoot the monkeys because they are considered pests but mainly for their tasty meat. Because of the fires many monkeys are migrating from the forest now to open lands or plantations. Normally there are averagely 20 to 30 orang hutans short on Kalimantan per day b ut now environmentalists estimate numbers of 60 to 90 being killed on a daily basis!!!!. There is no way to estimate the numbers of monkeys that die in the current forest fires or through suffication but these numbers must be high also.
Another area that is hit by forest fires is the region aroound the city of Amuntai. This area was also hard hit in 1998. An estimated area of 600.000 hectares is on fire there, mostly secundary forest and peat and degenerated land but also an estimated 300.000 hectares of pristine forest.
In the heart of Borneo the area between Longnawan and Tanjung reden is hard hit. Mostly primary forest areaīs in the lower mountain regions are on fire t here. I flew over the area with the Heli last week. It looks like armageddon there. We flew for 4 hoursr over smoke covered area where fires could be seen everywhere. Must be at least several millions of hectares there that are on fire.

In the west an area between pontianak and kendawangan is also quite hard hit with several fires in peat and bog and secondary forest and some primary forest areas.
Many environmentalists told me that they estimate that about 7 million hectares of land will be lost, some of it laready been cleared orr on fire before but much of it is precious primary and little bit less precious secondary forest. A big worry are the peat fires because they tend to spread underground and afftect such large areas at the moment. Peat forest in the bog areas is getting increasingly rare and t he f ires are spreading to the mangrove forest areaīs in the western kalimantan regions and the rare Nose Monkey that has itīs habitat in those areaīs is bound to disappear.

All in all i think Borneo doesnīt have many years left until it will be completely devoid of rainforest. Well that is what the indonesians want so they will be happy once all the forest is gone.

A bit more about the Orang hutans who are very hard hit. I got the following story from a few plantation workers i met.
A week ago a very sick Orang Hutan mother came out of the woods with itīs baby and competely contrary to its nature it went up to a few plantation workers and offered them itīs baby. Definately the poor mother felt that itīs end was near and it hoped that t he people would take care of the infant. After one of the guys had taken the baby the mother fell to the ground and one of t he workers clubbed it to death. After that another worker strangled the baby and that night they had a nice meal at the kampung. They were bragging about me that they had done a good job killing them because orang hutanīs are bad creatures, they are smelly and give diseases and often steal human babies.
When i asked them why t hey ate the creatures when they carry diseases they said that as long as they are cooked well and cleaned well the meat is ok.




Petero
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our government are waiting for a huge rain to drop in fire spot....




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