11/12/05 (Jakarta Post) JAKARTA: - The government says it will stick to its plan to clear 1.8 million hectares of forest on the Indonesian-Malaysian borders in Kalimantan despite the discovery of a rare carnivore, dubbed the Beast of Borneo, in the island's forests recently.
Minister of Forestry Malam Sambat Kaban insisted at the weekend that the felling of the forests to make way for plantations would not damage biodiversity.
WWF reported the discovery of the carnivore, which is slightly larger than a domestic cat and has dark red fur and a long bushy tail, after it was filmed on two occasions by an automatic camera in 2003.
The group warned that the government's plan to create the world's largest stretch of palm oil plantations in Kalimantan, along the border with Malaysia's Sarawak and Sabah states, threaten further undiscovered species.
Indonesia has been losing at least 2.8 million hectares of its forests every year to illegal logging alone. --JP