Two years ago, this was forest in the buffer zone to Taman Negara National Park, the boundary line is the rainforest) and the ancestral home to the Batek Negrito people who have lived here from time immemorial.  The Batek have run out of space.  To the west and south are 30 km of continuous oil palm plantations and to the south and east is Taman Negara National Park where the Batek are forbidden from hunting or gathering.  All these lands were their ancestral territory.  Kuala Koh, Kelantan, Malaysia.  2015
 Trying to hold onto his traditional lifestyle: Mahmet, a Batek Negrito hunter, talks about the loss of his ancestral forest while putting finishing touches on a dart for his hunting blowpipe.   Although he is not the group's headman, Mahmet is a charismatic unifier to his community which, two-years ago, helplessly witnessed the last remnant of its ancestral forest clear-cut by an oil palm company, making his clan, in legal terms, squatters pushed up against a river bank on land the Batek have occupied for over 10,000 years of more.  Kuala Koh, Kelantan, Malaysia.  2015  Although it is probably too late now, Mahmet wants to negotiate for land to be set aside especially for the Batek Negrito people.  The problem is that, aside from a few pockets of relatively intact forest on the fringes of Taman Negara National Park, there is basically no virgin rainforest outside the national park and the the Batek wrongly believe that they are banned from hunting or gathering inside the park despite it being part of their ancestral territory.  
 Same stretch of road that threads through the heart of the Batek Negritos' ancestral homeland in 2010 (left) and in 2015 (right) after being completely clear cut by HR Plantation Sdn. Bhd. to convert the land into an oil palm plantation.  Kuala Koh, Kelantan, Malaysia.  This forest was a buffer zone for Taman Negara National Park.
 A Batek child walks past laundry drying on the oil palm plantation's perimeter wire, which was supposed to be electrified to ward off elephants, erected by the palm oil plantation that has clear-cut their traditional ancestral land.  One can only imagine what a jolt intended for an elephant would do to a child.  Kelantan, Malaysia.  One concession that HR Plantation Sdn. Bhd., which has leased the land from the state, has made is not to electrify the fence that runs through their settlement on the edge of the Taman Negara National Park.  2015
 Three Batek Negrito women on their way to gather forest herbs pass by signs forbidding entry to land clear-cut two years ago by HR Plantation Sdn. Bhd. to create an oil palm plantation on the Batek's ancestral homeland less than 100m from the entrance to Taman Negara National Park.  2015
 Batek Negrito woman, wearing fresh-picked jungle flowers in her hair, on her way to collect herbs in the forest near the entrance to Taman Negara.  Kuala Koh, Kelantan, Malaysia. 2015
 Batek Negrito children swimming and eating little white berries that grow in bushes that line the river on the part of their territory that borders Taman Negara National Park and hence has not been clear-cut, like the rest of their ancestral homeland.  Near Kuala Koh, Kelantan, Malaysia.  2015
 Indonesian oil palm worker, of unknown visa status, cuts down palm oil fruit on the massive FELDA Global oil palm plantation that occupies a huge swathe of land that used to be the Batek Negritos' ancestral homeland.  According to a Wall Street Journal article, 85% of FELDA's oil palm workers are foreigners, mostly from Indonesia, Bangladesh and Myanmar, enduring deplorable working conditions and few legal protections.  It also means that few jobs are being created by FELDA for Malaysians.  Oil palm is a hidden ingredient that few people can go through a single day without consuming, like cooking oil, cookies, cakes, doughnuts, energy bars, shampoo, ice cream, chocolate, bread, cosmetics, soap, bio-diesel, and on and on.    FELDA (Federal Land Development Authority) was founded as a Malaysian government agency in 1956 to resettle the rural poor and to develop the cultivation of cash crops, like palm oil.  FELDA is no longer a government agency since the company raised over US$ 3 billion what was then the biggest IPO ever in Asia.  According to FELDA Globals website, it is the world's third largest oil palm estate operator with 450,000 hectares of across Malaysia and Kalimantan (Borneo), Indonesia.
 Squalid government-built settlement for the Batek Negrito people near the entrance to Taman Negara National Park at Kuala Koh.  For generations, the Malaysian government has encouraged, even cajoled the Batek to assimilate into mainstream society, and for generations, the Batek have returned to the forest.  2015
 A scene unchanged for millions of years.  Looking out over one of the largest tracts of the once vast Malaysian rainforest near Royal Belum State Park.  Just a generation or two ago, most of the Malay Peninsula looked like this.  This region is threaded by trails carved by forest elephants.  Tapir, tiger, sun bear and even rhinoceros can still be found in this pristine rainforest.  2015
 A logging truck carrying massive logs refuels in Gua Musang, Kelantan, Malaysia.  Loggers, almost four decades after they started hill logging in Kelantan are still pulling out massive trees, that act as carbon sinks sequestering the greenhouse gas from the atmosphere.  Much of the logging takes place to clear land for oil palm plantations.  Malaysia is the #2 producer of palm oil, only trailing behind its larger neighbor, Indonesia.  2015
 Indonesia oil palm workers on the Batek Negritos' ancestral homeland that was completely clear cut by HR Plantation Sdn. Bhd. to convert the land into an oil palm plantation.  Kuala Koh, Kelantan, Malaysia.  2015
 Tima, Mahmat's wife, tries to keep her youngest child cool during the midday in the patch of tree cover sandwiched between the Pertang River and the new oil palm plantation on their ancestral homeland.  Even the shade is hotter than it used to be, being immediately adjacent the clear-cut.  Near Kuala Koh, Kelantan, Malaysia.
 Two Batek Negrito women descend into the older oil palm plantation to head down to the river from the government settlement at Kuala Koh to wash clothes at dusk.  Kelantan, Malaysia.  2015
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