Leonardo DiCaprio Will NOT Be Banned From Indonesia, Country Appreciates His Rainforest Concerns
Leonardo DiCaprio will not be banned from Indonesia for criticizing the country for destroying parts of its rainforests for palm oil plantations. Despite an Indonesian immigration official initially saying the government might “blacklist” DiCaprio and prohibit him from reentering the country, now Dr. Siti Nurbaya, the nation’s Minister of the Environment and Forestry, has said she appreciates the Oscar winner’s “sincere and substantial” concern for its environment. Nurbaya expressed she was also even “open to working together with DiCaprio” on issues of Indonesia’s ecosystem.
In an interview on Saturday with foresthints.news, Nurbaya said DiCaprio “certainly acted in good faith” during his visit last week at Mount Leuser National Park in Sumatra. As Gossip Cop previously reported, alongside an Instagram photo of him and natives holding up a sign calling for the ecosystem to be saved (below), DiCaprio wrote in a caption, “A world-class biodiversity hotspot, the #Indonesian Leuser Ecosystem is one of the most important areas of intact #rainforest left in Southeast Asia. Its forests are home to the densest remaining populations of the critically endangered Sumatran #orangutan.”
He further noted that “Palm Oil expansion is destroying this unique place,” and it’s now “time to save the Leuser Ecosystem. We must develop a permanent solution to protect and restore this valuable natural asset.” DiCaprio also explained that the palm oil expansion affects other animals in different ways, including their ability to get food. He wrote in another post, “The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation is supporting local partners to establish a mega-fauna sanctuary in the Leuser Ecosystem, last place on Earth where Sumatran orangutans, tigers, rhinos and elephants coexist in the wild.”
Initially, DiCaprio’s remarks upset the Indonesian government. Heru Santoso, the spokesman for the Directorate General for Immigration at the Law and Human Rights Ministry, postured, “We can blacklist him from returning to Indonesia at any time if he keeps posting incitement or provocative statements in his social media.” But now Nurbaya says DiCaprio did nothing wrong while in Indonesia. She pointed out, “There was even an official from my ministry serving in the province who accompanied DiCaprio on his visit,” adding, “It’s really not relevant to link the concerns conveyed by DiCaprio with immigration matters.”
“Our main concern is to create a balance within the Leuser Ecosystem. To this end, the protection of lowland forests to preserve wildlife habitats in this ecosystem must be weighed against our concerns about sustainable community livelihoods,” said Nurbaya. She even offered that she’ll be at the United Nations in New York on April 20, and if DiCaprio is in town, “Perhaps we can catch up over a cup of coffee.”