Activists may love Leonardo DiCaprio, but right now, the Indonesian government doesn’t. The actor recently incurred the ire of the government while working to raise awareness for Leuser Ecosystem, which faces deforestation due to the palm oil industry. After DiCaprio criticized the destruction of the forest on his Instagram, the government threatened deportation.
According to Indonesian conservation group HAkA, which DiCaprio supports, the Leuser Ecosystem is “one of Asia’s largest carbon sinks.” The Leuser Ecosystem is unique: orangutans, elephants, rhinos, and tigers coexist there, the last place on Earth all four species inhabit together. These animals, which are threatened by deforestation, are already critically endangered.
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“As the forest of the #Indonesian #LeuserEcosystem continues to be cleared to meet demand for Palm Oil, the critically endangered Sumatran #orangutan is being pushed to the brink of extinction,” DiCaprio said on his Instagram. He also spoke out about the impact of deforestation on the elephants, saying it cuts off their migratory paths so they can’t find food and water.
Immigration officials and palm oil businessmen expressed their disapproval of DiCaprio’s posts, saying he should be there only for a visit and not to stir up controversy.
Director General of the Immigration Ministry of Justice and Human Rights Ronny Sompie said of DiCaprio, “If there is a statement that discredits the government and the interests of Indonesia, he could be deported…when he was in Indonesia for other purposes, by doing activities that disrupt public order and harm the interests of Indonesia, the Immigration [is] ready to deport him.” One local businessman said DiCaprio should be in the Amazon, working for conservation there instead.
Unfortunately for them, it appears DiCaprio had already left the country. His team confirmed his departure to EcoWatch, but his work in Indonesia isn’t finished. The actor’s Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation partnered last summer with Indonesian biologist and conservationist Rudi Putra to create a wildlife sanctuary in the Leuser Ecosystem and report deforestation.
Others who want to help can sign a petition to save the Leuser Ecosystem.
Via The Guardian
Images via Leonardo DiCaprio on Instagram