Friday, October 21, 2005

Little Bigfoot on the run!

Here is a real example of a fish out of water - a siamang forced to come down to the ground to cross a forest clearance to reach better forest patches with fresh leaves and fruiting trees. The siamang is a stunning gibbon found in Sumatra and the Malay Peninsula. Sadly it is endangered and becomming more so as palm oil reduces its natural habitat. Traditional beliefs in central Sumatra prevent people from hunting the siamang. Without their haunting dawn chorus the Rimba people don't believe the sun will rise. Well we will be facing dark days indeed if palm oil expansion and forest conversion continues at its current rate.

This picture is a composite of 13 frames from our film: "Another Crude Oil", documenting the rise and rise of the palm oil industry, and the fall of the rainforests of Borneo and Sumatra. Whilst filmming we heard numerous stories of how palm oil developers were purposefully encircling small patches of forest, cutting them off from the larger stretches and then working their way inwards until animals would make a dash for it. Hunters would be waiting. Not local subsistence hunters, but sport hunters, police and army officials. This is organised hunting of protected species.

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