September 13, 2018

New evidence found in Batang Toru hydroelectric site

( - New evidence, derived through on-the-ground monitoring (Sep 11) by the Indonesian Ministry of the Environment and Forestry from the site of a hydroelectric power project in the Batang Toru Ecosystem, has led to the conclusion that direct corrective actions are needed in every phase of the power plant’s construction. 

The discovery of three two-day-old Tapanuli orangutan nests in community plantations, isolated due to the fragmentation of their habitat by PT NSHE's hydroelectric power project development, forms part of the evidence as to why these direct corrective actions are required. 

This demand for action was firmly conveyed by Wiratno, the Ministry's Director General of Natural Resources and Ecosystem Conservation, when presenting the key findings of the ministry's monitoring of locations impacted by the ongoing hydroelectric power plant construction at the ministry building (Sep 12).

Below are some photos, taken by the ministry's monitoring team, portraying the level of fragmentation of the Tapanuli orangutan's habitat as a result of the hydroelectric power plant's construction.

According to the director general, pieces of evidence found by his team on the ground underline that the impact of the development of the hydroelectric power project on the Tapanuli orangutans must be addressed now.

“I have instructed a team to be on stand-by at the site to monitor the movement of the forced out Tapanuli orangutans. We want to make sure that nothing happens to them,” he explained.

In addition, he has also ordered the establishment of posts at several locations to continue monitoring the movements of the Tapanuli orangutans forced out by the disturbance caused by the hydroelectric power plant's construction. 

Director General Wiratno used the following photos to highlight the areas affected by the hydroelectric power project construction process, which has led to the eviction of certain individual Tapanuli orangutans.

Continuous monitoring like this is undoubtedly required to obtain ongoing evidence as a basis for making relevant interventions aimed at providing corrections in the phases of the hydroelectric power project construction in the Batang Toru Ecosystem,” he asserted.

The director general also warned PT NSHE to undertake direct corrective actions from its side on the ground in response to the evidence uncovered by his team.

“This company must invest to ensure that the phases of its hydroelectric power project development do not uproot any more Tapanuli orangutans,” Wiratno cautioned.

He elaborated further, urging PT NSHE to avoid (as a first priority) and minimize (as a second priority) its operations causing the eviction of any more Tapanuli orangutans. 

“This is in line with the World Bank Group's IFC performance standards that they (PT NSHE) promised to adopt in their operations,” he emphasized.

As earlier reported by (Sep 7), Indonesian Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya ordered the director general to ensure that there must be no extinction of the Tapanuli orangutans in the Batang Toru Ecosystem.