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Leonardo DiCaprio May Not Return to Indonesia Over Negative Palm Oil Plantation Remarks

April 2
9:10 AM 2016

An Indonesian official on Saturday stated that they may impose a ban on actor Leonardo DiCaprio from entering Indonesia again due to his negative comments that palm oil plantations are damaging the country's rainforests and jeopardizing wildlife.

Palm Oil (Kelapa Sawit) plantation in Kabupaten Konawe Utara, Southeast Sulawesi, near Kendari city, Indonesia.Young Palm Oil trees grown from seedlings planted in rows. Red earth typical of an economic nickel laterite deposit.
(Photo : Michael Thirnbeck ) Palm Oil (Kelapa Sawit) plantation in Kabupaten Konawe Utara, Southeast Sulawesi, near Kendari city, Indonesia.Young Palm Oil trees grown from seedlings planted in rows. Red earth typical of an economic nickel laterite deposit.

Last weekend, the 'Titanic' icon visited the protected Mount Leuser National Park in Northern Sumatra and uploaded pictures to his Instagram account reflecting concerns about species losing their natural habitats.

"The expansion of palm oil plantations is fragmenting the forest and cutting off key elephant migration corridors," he posted. "A world-class biodiversity hotspot, but palm oil expansion is destroying this unique place."

Deforestation vanquishes large areas of Indonesian forests every year during the dry season. This practice creates haze polluting neighboring countries, causing huge economic losses aside from adding to Indonesia's carbon dioxide emissions, as reported by MSN.

According to the Directorate General for Immigration at the Law and Human Rights Ministry, spokesman Heru Santoso, stated that DiCaprio used his visit as an excuse to demean the palm oil industry and the Indonesian government. He added that they support his concern to saving the Leuser ecosystem; however, he can be blacklisted for repeated postings of instigating remarks in his social media.  

The Oscar winner was defended by the chairperson of the group Forest, Nature and Environment of Aceh, Farwiza Farhan, saying the DiCaprio didn't do anything wrong, as reported by BBC.

"The claim that he was trying to discredit Indonesia doesn't make sense because these environment campaigns are local movements.  He just gave his support. Tourists can come and speak their opinion. When Leo arrived in Medan he was shocked that the haze was so thick, he asked us: 'Is this smoke or clouds?" she said.

He posted in his Instagram account a photo from his visit, saying that DiCaprio Foundation "supporting local partners to establish a mega-fauna sanctuary" in the Leuser ecosystem, a habitat threatened by palm oil plantations, logging, mining and other development activities, based on The Guardian report.

HAka, a non-government organization based in Aceh said that the ecosystem "plays a critical role in helping regulate the Earth's climate by absorbing carbon pollution and storing massive amounts of carbon in its lowland rainforests and peat lands.  

Leonardo DiCaprio's foundation started in 1998 and will work with Acehnese conservationist Rudi Putra to develop a wildlife sanctuary in the ecosystem, building barriers, training wildlife rangers and patrols as well as giving information about habitat devastation. 

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