Hey Mandarin! We’re not a fan–save the orangutan

This chant rang out in NYC and London, as demonstrators converged on Mandarin Oriental Hotel to call for an end to their complicity in the destruction of orangutan habitat. Mandarin is owned by parent company Jardine Matheson, whose corporate activities threaten to wipe out the world’s last remaining population of Tapanuli orangutans.   

At the NYC action, activists handed out flyers, sang and chanted, as they braved the pouring rain on the sidewalk in front of the hotel. They then went inside, where they delivered 32,000 petitions addressed to Mandarin.  

The petition has since nearly doubled to 55,000 signatories, as worldwide pressure builds.

Earlier in the day, in London, dozens of activist led by the renowned conservationist Ian Redmond rallied in front of Mandarin’s Hyde Park hotel. March 21 was chosen as the day of action to protect the Tapanuli orangutan to coincide with the UN’s International Day of Forests.

Tourist and other travelers don’t want to stay at establishments that are complicit in the deforestation of habitats of critically endangered species.  And yet Jardine Matheson–parent company to Mandarin Oriental–is standing idly by while rainforests are being bulldozed and threatening the Tapanuli orangutan with extinction.

The Tapanuli orangutan has a population of just 800, and all are found exclusively in the Batang Toru forest, on the Indonesian island of Sumatra. Jardines operates a mine in this forest–right in the heart of the Tapanuli’s only habitat. Worse, the mine has been drilling exploratory wells further encroaching on these orangutans’ territory. Additionally, Jardines and its subsidiary Astra have failed to take a stand against the Batang Toru dam, which would physically fragment the Tapanuli’s habitat and prevent these apes from having the level of genetic diversity necessary to sustain their population. Astra International is Indoneisa’s largest company; they have influence with the government who has the authority to halt this dam project.  We welcome positive engagement with the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, and strongly hope that they and their parent company act to protect biodiversity.