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Leonardo DiCaprio Faces Indonesia Ban for Instagram Posts Criticizing Palm Oil Industry

Actor and environmental activist Leonardo DiCaprio faces being banned from Indonesia after he criticized the country’s palm oil and paper industries online.

After paying a visit to Mount Leuser National Park — a protected region in northern Sumatra — the Oscar winner took to his Instagram page this week to share images of the region’s wildlife and captions warning his followers it was in danger of being wiped out by local industry.

The lowland #rainforest of the Leuser Ecosystem are considered the world’s best remaining habitat for the critically endangered Sumatran #elephant. In these forests, ancient elephant migratory paths are still used by some of the last #wild herds of Sumatran elephants. But the expansion of Palm Oil plantations is fragmenting the #forest and cutting off key elephant migratory corridors, making it more difficult for elephant families to find adequate sources of food and water. 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. Click the link in the bio to stand with @haka_sumatra as they fight to protect the Leuser Ecosystem. #SaveLeuserEcosystem #Indonesia

A photo posted by Leonardo DiCaprio (@leonardodicaprio) on

“The lowland #rainforest of the Leuser Ecosystem are considered the world’s best remaining habitat for the critically endangered Sumatran #elephant. In these forests … But the expansion of Palm Oil plantations is fragmenting the #forest and cutting off key elephant migratory corridors, making it more difficult for elephant families to find adequate sources of food and water.”

In another post, DiCaprio wrote, “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. But Palm Oil expansion is destroying this unique place.”

The actor also later tweeted a petition calling on Indonesian President Joko Widodo to help protect the area.

According to BBC News, Indonesian government officials were not pleased with DiCaprio’s posts on social media, and some accused him of running a “black campaign” to discredit the government.

Heru Santoso, a spokesperson for the director general of the immigration department, told the outlet DiCaprio might be guilty of “incitement.”

“In terms of [his] visa and immigration permit, Leonardo DiCaprio did not do anything wrong,” he said. “He entered and left Indonesia legally. But, we still investigate.”

Santoso added, “If DiCaprio’s posting in his social media can be categorized as incitement or provocation, we can blacklist him from coming back to Indonesia.”

Farwiza Farhan, a local environmental activist, defended DiCaprio from the criticism.

“The claim that he was trying to discredit Indonesia doesn’t make sense because these environment campaigns are local movements,” she told BBC. “He just gave his support.”

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