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Coalition's Orang-utan and Rainforest Protection Plan

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Media Release

The Hon Greg Hunt MP Shadow Minister for Climate Action, Environment and Heritage

Friday 30 August 2013

Coalition’s Orang-utan and Rainforest Protection Plan

A Coalition Government will join forces with Melbourne Zoo to tackle threats to orang-utans in South East Asia through a $300,000 investment in conservation.

Shadow Minister for Climate Action, Environment and Heritage, Greg Hunt, said the funding would be administered through the Zoo’s international grants program and will support the Nyaru Menteng Orang-utan Reintroduction Project in central Kalimantan, Indonesia.

“The key aim of this project is to rescue, rehabilitate and release orphaned and injured Orang-utans that are impacted by human wildlife conflict,” he said.

“The Sanctuary currently holds more than 600 Orang-utans, many of which are waiting for adequate funding to be returned to the wild.

“$300,000 will enable the release of approximately 60 Orang-utans back to the wild with 12 months follow-up monitoring,” Mr Hunt said.

Zoos Victoria is dedicated to fighting wildlife extinction in Australia and overseas and has worked with Orang-utans throughout its 150 year history. The Zoo’s Orang-utan keepers regularly volunteer their time to work in Indonesia on Orang-utan protection projects.

Zoos Victoria CEO Jenny Gray welcomed the commitment to help save Orang-utans in the wild.

“Nyaru Menteng does incredible work protecting and rehabilitating Orang-utans. This funding is a huge boost to the protection of this species in the wild,” she said.

Mr Hunt said logging of the world’s great rainforests not only destroys animal habitats it is a major source of global greenhouse gas emissions.

“A Coalition Government will therefore work to promote an international agreement to achieve a Global Rainforest Recovery Plan aimed at a 50 per cent reduction in the eight billion tonnes of annual CO2 emissions caused by rainforest destruction..

“Nothing would do more to rapidly decrease the risk of climate change than a major plan to protect global rainforests. A Coalition Government would therefore seek to include rainforest protection within current and future international agreements.”

To tackle rainforest destruction in our own region, a Coalition Government will commit $1 million to holding a major summit on preserving rainforests in the Asia-Pacific as part of the Asia-Pacific Rainforest Recovery Plan.

Negotiations will be held with our neighbouring countries as to whether they would seek to join us in co-hosting the summit.

The summit would aim to bring together the region’s major rainforest nations of Indonesia, PNG, Myanmar, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Laos, Thailand and Solomon Islands with the major rainforest donors: Australia, Norway, Germany, the Netherlands and the UK.

Key regional players like China, India and the US would also be encouraged to take part.

Media Contact: Wendy Black, 0418 532 534