Palm oil grown in Sumatra is exported to the West and used widely in cosmetics and food products. But thousands of miles away a deadly price is being paid for the cultivation of this cheap ingredient.
Spanning 2.2 million hectares, the Leuser ecosystem is regarded as the most biodiverse forest in South East Asia. But widespread palm cultivation and illegal logging by armed gangs is putting the elephants in dangerous proximity with locals, destroying livelihoods and claiming lives. "One of our people was killed when an elephant trampled him", says one farmer. With the Sumatran elephant on the brink of extinction, the governor of Aceh has approved a new plan to open up vast areas of forest for further exploitation, but conservationists and local communities are fighting back. "We are talking about a death blow. It's their final stronghold. If that goes, say goodbye."
Ecologist Film Unit