The Environment and Forestry Ministry have banned foreign researchers on behalf of Erik Meijaard and his friends from entering the National Parks and Natural Resources Conservation areas in Indonesia in relation to an article they published about orangutans.
The instruction is stated in letter No. S.1447/MENLHK-KSDAE/KHSS/KSA.2/9/2022 to all National Parks and Natural Resources Conservation Centres. One of those who have received the letter is the Komodo National Park.
“Yes [I have received the letter],” said a spokesperson for Komodo National Park to CNNIndonesia.com, on Tuesday 20th September 2022.
In the letter, the Ministry asked all National Park Centres and Natural Resources Conservation areas not to give access to Erik Meijaard, et al to research conservation activities. The Ministry considered that previously published articles by Erik Meijaard could have a negative effect and could discredit the government.
“Do not provide services to foreign researchers Mr Erik Meijaard, Julie Sherman, Marc Ancrenaz, Hjalmar Kuhl, and Sarge Wich in all licensing and approval matters related to conservation activities under the authority of the Environment and Forestry Ministry,” said point one of the letter.
In the second point, the Ministry requests that Meijaard and his associates not be served in working with the Ministry at the site level under the authority of the head of technical operations. All technical operations are requested to propose conservation activities by foreign researchers through NGO partners, academics, or ministry and institutional services.
“To supervise research activities that have received permits at this time, especially with regard to research results that will be used for publication in order to maintain their objectivity,” reads point five.
CNNIndonesia.com has contacted the Environment and Forestry Ministry’s Minister Siti Nurbaya, Secretary General Bambang Bambang Hendroyono, and Public Relations Nunu regarding the matter. However, the three have not responded at the time of going to press.
Erik Meijaard is the managing director of Borneo Futures as well as a researcher who studies orangutan issues. Some of his research include Orangutan distribution, density, abundance, and impact of disturbance (2009) and measuring orangutan killings and human-orangutan conflict in Kalimantan, Indonesia.
Previously, Meijaard had written an opinion in the media about the orangutan population in Indonesia. He criticised the Indonesian government for data on deforestation and the impact on the orangutan population.