Thursday, October 14, 2010

Sumatran Tiger and Bulldozer Caught on Camera

Hi animal lovers,

I’m a little gloomy today after doing my usual scan of animal activist websites.  I was on WWF and stumbled upon quite an alarming story.  In May-June 2010 videos of a bulldozer destroying a Sumatra tiger habitat in Bukit Batabuh, a protected forest in Riau Province Indonesia, were captured, and just two days ago were made public (you can watch that video above or here). WWF installed the video cameras in mid-2009 to study the Sumatran tiger population, their habitats and the threats they both face.  In the video a male Sumatran tiger walks up to the camera and sniffs it.  A week later, the camera catches a bulldozer clearing trees for an illegal palm oil plantation.  The next day, the camera records another tiger walking through the destroyed landscape.  Let me start from the beginning...

Riau Province, Indonesia
It's firstly important to note that Bukit Batabuh was classified as a protected area by Riau Province in 1994.  It is considered crucial for conservation because it’s a corrider between two national parks.  It was categorized as a limited protection forest, meaning it’s illegal for companies to exploit the forest.   But apparently it’s too early to say if the bulldozing activities were illegal because although protected from commercial development, with the right permits local officials can authorize road-building.  However, the WWF links this bulldozing destruction with the expansion of palm oil plantations in Riau ProvinceIndonesia is the top palm-oil producer. These land-clearing practices for palm oil plantations have been going on for some time, and they force the tiger to have close contact with humans.   Not only are these tigers dealing with their habitats being destroyed as an aspect of this heavy deforestation, but they are also subject to illegal poaching, which I touched on yesterday. In March 2010, WWF's Tiger Patrol Unit, in collaboration with Riau's Nature Conservation Agency found and confiscated more than 110 tiger snares. 

There are only 400 Sumatran tigers left in Indonesia, which is about 12% of the estimated global tiger population (3,200).  Basically this means that Indonesia has a prominent role in tiger conservation efforts. Sumatran tigers are sadly the most endangered sub-species.  In this particular case, the population is threatened by loss of habitat which in turn decreases prey populations.  Tigers need sufficient prey and protection in order to procreate.  They need to have minimal human-tiger conflict to ensure theirs, and our optimal safety. 

Sumatran tiger

I am happy to relay that the Indonesian government is working on making commitments to improve protection of Sumatra tigers.  In fact, in July 2010 a "pre" Tiger Summit was held in Bali at which they unveiled their ecosystem-based land-use plan.  They also have an upcoming Conference of Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity this month, and of course the Tiger Summit in Russia this November.  These plans depend on support from stakeholders, provincial and district levels, to support the need to stop overlapping land use planning, as it creates many problems for the tigers.

The Sumatra tigers need help from everyone.  Governments, businesses and communities need to help support protection for this landscape, which will directly help save tiger's lives.  Law enforcement is weak and must be improved.  Coordination between different levels of government is needed.  We once again need to raise awareness! Please help spread the word. 

I will leave you with a quote...

“Bukit Batabuh’s status as a protected area and limited production forest means the area cannot be developed as a palm oil plantation. Therefore, any forest clearance —including bulldozing activities to clear the path — strongly indicates this excavation was illegal.  The law should be enforced in this matter.” - Ian Kosasih, Director of WWF-Indonesia’s Forest and Species Program. “

 Victoria xo.

p.s  You can join any of WWF's social websites by clicking here.

1 comment:

  1. Very nice your blog!Congratulations for your blog and initiative in favor of animals.