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Caught on Camera - Sumatran Tiger sees its Forest Home Destroyed

Caught on Camera - Sumatran Tiger sees its Forest Home Destroyed

WWF this week reported this week that a video camera trap installed by WWF and its partners has captured footage linking the destruction of a crucial Sumatran tiger forest to the expansion of palm oil plantations in Indonesia's Riau Province. Videos and photos captured in May and June 2010 - released to the public for the first time this month - caught a male Sumatran tiger walking straight to a camera and sniffing it. A week later, the heat-activated-video camera trap caught a bulldozer clearing trees for an illegal palm oil plantation in the same exact location. The next day, the camera recorded a Sumatran tiger walking through the devastated landscape. Bukit Batabuh, where the film was taken, was classified as a protected area by Riau Province in 1994, and catagorised as a limited production forest based on Indonesia's 1986 Land Use Consensus, meaning no company can legally exploit the forest. 'Because of its status, both as a protected area and limited production forest, 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, ' said Ian Kosasih, WWF-Indonesia's Director of Forest and Species Programme. 'The law should be enforced in this matter." 'And to stop illegal activities such as this, the palm oil industry should not source its material from farmers or producers who develop their plantations illegally.' Since mid-2009, WWF has installed video camera traps in Bukit Batabuh to study Sumatran tiger distribution, habits, and threats they are facing. The wildlife corridor connects Rimbang Baling Wildlife Reserve and Bukit Tigapuluh National Park, making it a crucial area for tiger conservation. 'Forest clearance in this area threatens this endangered species because it reduces natural habitat and consequently increases human-tiger conflicts, an unfortunate consequence for both sides. The location where the tiger and bulldozer were documented by video in May 2010 is only 200 meters away from a video camera trap which captured a tigress and her cubs passing by in October 2009. There are as few as 400 Sumatran tigers left in Indonesia - about 12 per cent of the estimated global tiger population of 3, 200 tigers. With its significant percentage of the global tiger population, Indonesia has a prominent role in tiger conservation efforts. The tiger population is threatened by loss and fragmented habitat, decreasing prey populations, illegal poaching and trading of the tiger and its body parts, as well as human-tiger conflicts.
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