March 20, 2019

Tapanuli orangutan not a legal monitoring parameter

( - Bank of China must be aware that the legal document used as the basis for environmental monitoring (RPL) by PT NSHE, the Batang Toru hydroelectric project developer, does not include any monitoring whatsoever of the Tapanuli orangutans.

This issue should really be addressed by Bank of China by reviewing the project developer’s legal monitoring plan document as part of its ongoing evaluation of the project.

This news report comes in the wake of concern expressed regarding the need for Bank of China to review the project’s Environmental Impact Assessment (AMDAL) document, which has been proven not to give full protection to the Tapanuli orangutans and their habitat, as previously posted by (Mar 14)

PT NSHE’s legal monitoring plan document reveals that the company in no way encompasses the protection of the Tapanuli orangutans and their habitat as an environmental issue included within the parameters of its monitoring.

The absence of the Tapanuli orangutans and their habitat in the project developer’s monitoring plan has led to a degree of concern as well as questions concerning the company’s legal responsibility towards the protection of this newly-discovered species.  

The Planet Explorer images below show the level of land clearing in the hydroelectric project location, which has already caused some Tapanuli orangutan individuals to move out from their habitat, as reported by in September last year. 

It is very relevant for Bank of China to understand why Indonesian Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya sent a letter to PT NSHE in early September last year asking the company to correct its environmental impact assessment (AMDAL) document. 

One of the key reasons used by the minister in this regard was that the content of PT NSHE’s AMDAL document does not provide comprehensive protection to the Tapanuli orangutans and their habitat.

In fact, it turns out that the protection of the Tapanuli orangutans and their habitat is not even a parameter in the project developer’s legally-required monitoring plan - something which absolutely has to form part of the evaluation conducted by Bank of China.

The results of the project review by Bank of China are very eagerly awaited by relevant local and global stakeholders, given that they will provide clearer basis for learning the level of concern shown by Bank of China towards the Tapanuli orangutans and their habitat.

In her letter to PT NSHE, Minister Nurbaya underlined the need for the protection of the Tapanuli orangutan population and habitat to be one of the primary focuses of the Indonesian Government and also to be of international concern.

The minister’s letter also pointed out that the Tapanuli orangutan was officially announced as only the third species of orangutan in the world - after the Bornean and Sumatran orangutan - in early November 2017.