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tv   Asia Insight  LINKTV  January 3, 2020 5:00am-5:31am PST

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we are in the east of the island of borne neo, indonesia. palm trees line the road as far as the eye can see. ththis species of palm is grown for palm oil, of which indonesia is the world's largest producer. trees have been cut down to make
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way for plantations of over 100,000 square kilomemeters, an area that has grown 500% in 20 years. this has driven the island's orangutans, known as people of the forest, to become critically endangered. german and british research has estimated that between 1999 and 2015, around half of borne i don't's orangutans were affected, leading to a population drop of about 150,000. as orangutans lose their habitat, one ngo is taking them in, raising them, and returning them to the wild. it also carries out ongoing research on orangutan habitats in developed areas. indonesia has prohibited the development of land in areas where orangutans live.
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>> there, nest. a nest. orangutan nest. >> meet the people battling to save the orangutans and protect their home. this is a natural protected forest in east kalimantan, borneo. it's the site of an orangutan rehabilitation facility run by the c.o.p., the center for orangutan protection.
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the ngo has 13 staff and operates on donations from both home and abroad. the c.o.p. opened the facility in 2015. the ministry of environment and forestry lends them one square kilometer of land for free. that land is now home to 18 orangutans aged between 2 and 25 years old. happy, happy, happy. bobby, bobby, bobby. happy, happy, happy! >> some fled to inhabited areas after losing their homes to o developers. others have been kept as pets. the c.o.p. even has a full-time vet on the team.
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the orangutans spend every day training to return to the wild. the team had entered the trees with five youngsters aged between 2 and 4. they think the staff are their parents and cling to them happily. wild orangutans are raised by their mothers for around six years. they're taught how to find food, build nests, and other essential skills for living alone. but these five all lost their mothers soon after birth. after eating, instinct drives the orangutans to begin climbing. wild orangutans spend most of their lives in tall trees where they eat, defecate, sleep, and give birth.
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their human handlers cannot teach the babies these skills. all they can do is let them play in the woods and become used to life up high. the handlers check in on each of their orangutans every 30 minutes. detailed records help them gauge the growth of each baby. they're led by c.o.p. founder hardi bakti.
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hardi started out as an animal photographer. in 2005, after witnessing firsthand the crisis facing borne i don't's orangutans are, he made the decision to focus instead on conservation. after gaining experience at an international ngo, he set up the c.o.p. at around 3:00 in the afternoon, the younger on rage tans come out of the trees, tired of playing. they return to their cages with their handlers. the handlers begin preparing dinner for them. when the young return to the wild, finding their own food will be their most vital skill.
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each orangutan must figure out for themselves how to find food from inside the bamboo. they all try to extract the fruit. the bamboo has been cracked so it's easy to break apart.
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they begin to squabble over the fruit, realizing that sitting and waiting won't win them the prize. their orangutan instincts are on display. about ten kilometers from the facility is a river island maintained by the c.o.p. oranangutans live here to experience life in the wild before being released. since they don't swim, they are safe on the island. staff statay in a hut on the riverbank to keep an eye on them 24 hours a day. currently there are four orangutans living on the island. the c.o.p. needs government permission to release them into the wild.
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since 2015, they've only been granted permission to return one orangutan to the forest. east kalimantan is home to many plantations owned by palm oil companies. the palms produce about 2,000 fruit in a single cluster, weighing around 30 kilograms. the palm oil made from this fruit is used in chocolate, margarine, and other foodstuffs, as well as season. in 2017, indonesian exported about $23 billion worth of palm oil. it's a core industry, making up over 10% of the nation's exports. people from all over indonesia come to the plantations for work.
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more people are starting to grow oil palms independently. this man gave up forestry ten years ago to start his own plantation. the trees produce fruit more than ten times a year. that meaeans large yields and a
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steady income. however, as more forests are turned into palm plantations, orangutans are losing their hohomes and food sources. they're now being forced to eat palm saplings. it's illegalal to capture or killer on rang tans in indonesia. but it's not unusual for them to be quietly disposed of as pests. one of the c.o.p.'s orangutans came to the center after being orphaned as a newborn. popopi is 2 y years o old and t youngest orangutan at the center. she hardly ever climbs when playing in the forest.
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popi is cared for by team leader rueti who studied graphic design but decided too become a handle instead, after v volunteering a the c.o.p. popi came to the center in september 2016 at just 8 weeks old. she was found in a village near a plantation 150 kilometers away. her mother was killed in a pest controll trap and popi w was le alone.
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three months later, ruweti began training popi to live in the wild. after turning a year old, popi was placed in a cage with the other four youngsters. but if ruweti is nearby, she still clings to her like her own mother.
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because popi's time with her mother was so short, she has no memory of living in the trees. at 2 years old, popi still wants
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her mom's attention. ruweti loves her like her own child, but she knows that popi needs to learn to climb, even if it requires a strict attitude. ardee is the founder and leader of the c.o.p. he said that conservation efforts by centers like these are not enough to save orangutans from extinction.
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to protectct the orangutansns, c.o.p. also works to prevent the illegal development of forests. palinas has worked for the c.o.p. for the past seven years. today he's heading to a forest 100 kilometers south of the center.the past seven years. today he's heading to a forest 100 kilometers south of the center.for the past seven years. today he's heading to a forest 100 kilometers south of the center.c.o.p. for the past seve. today he's heading to a forest 100 kilometers south of the center. an indonesian law from 1990 states an area in which orangutans are known to live must be protected. if orangutans are found where a
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plantation is being developed, all work in the area must stop. three hours after setting off, paulinas arrivals at his destination. it's an area that has been slated for plantation development. it covers 74 square kilometers, and the local government has already granted permission to develop. >> here, see? that's an orangutan. a big one.
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there, nest. orangutan nest. orangutan nest. >> because orangutans move every day, they make new nests each time. paulinas spots several of them. he takes photos as evidence and includes a gps marker. he drives on for another five minutes. >> okay. from here we can take the video -- >> he spotted an orangutan.
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it's a male, around 20 years old. paulinas then drives another 50 kilometers south to a small village. he wants to check up on an orangutan being kept here. it's illegal to keep orangutans as pets. but many people near plantations do it anyway.
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the owner, lamudin, found the orangutan as a youngster seven years ago and couldn't bear to part with him. tungal, the orangutan, is about 8 years old. he's getting bigger and stronger each year. lalamudin's family are cononcer they can no longer care for him. they want the c.o.p. to take him instead.
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all paulinas can do is promise to keep checking in on tungal. after returning to the rehabilitation center, paulinas writes a report o on the orangun
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he found in the area planned for development. he adds photos and a map of the area as evidence. the report will go to the ministry. the planned development area is outlined in black. the orangutan sighting is marked in red. and the nests are marked in green. so r, paulinas has beeeen able to stop plantntationevelopment reporteral areas with esese these develments that go ahead enronmentave bece thee target of international criticism in recent years. indonesia's biggest palm oil company has a client list of major international food manufacturers. it's now reacting to this
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criticism. >> since 2014, we are no longer opening up new plantations. so we stopped expanding. we develop our own estates and last year we were able to get two types of seeds recognized and approved by the government. >> a s seed developeded in 2017l helplp double haharvests. thee company intends to make a grgradual transitioion towards new variety of palm. but onlyy major companieses can afford to make changes like this. smaller plantations will keep developing in the forest. every month, the c.o.p. visits nearby villages to hold special classes for the children.
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>> orangutan conservation takes a long time. it's vital that the next generation understands the importrtance o of this task.
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in september 2018, some good news arrived for the c.o.p. the team has acquired permits to release the four orangutans on the island into a protected forest. team leader ruweti goes to check on the group. since there isn't enough food on the island to support the animals, the team provides a bare minimum of food once a day. the four have now been living on the island for over a year.
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nofi is around 10 years old. untan is about the same age. 7-year-old lechi is already starting to become suspicious of humans and won't approach. 9-year-old uneo was brought to the c.o.p. four years ago. he had been living in a tiny cage in a bathroom. he was fed vegetables and rice. of the four orangutans, it took him the longest to get used to life at the c.o.p.
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>> t the four orangutans will b releasased backk into the forern one month's time.
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>> the u.s. airstrike in b baghd results in the death of a top iranian military commander, qasem soleimani. tehran announces three days of mourning and warns of severe revenge. the pentagon says u.s. president donald trump personally give the orders to target soleimani, saying it was to prevent possible future attacks. and with more than 200 fires cocontinuing to burn in austral


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