June 19, 2019

Rare tigers found in condemned forest

The rare sight of Sumatran Tigers in the wild. Hopefully their habitat gets to stay chainsaw free.

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has recorded images of 12 rare Sumatran tigers, including cubs, in an Indonesian forest due to be cleared by loggers.

The WWF is calling for the planned forest clearance in the Bukit Tigapuluh forest in Sumatra to be stopped to protect the rapidly diminishing habitat of the Sumatran tigers.

There are only an estimated 400 Sumatran tigers left in the wild, and the WWF is trying to determine why so many more than usual were recorded by their hidden cameras.

“What’s unclear is whether we found so many tigers because we’re getting better at locating our cameras or because the tiger’s habitat is shrinking so rapidly here that they are being forced into sharing smaller and smaller bits of forests,” said Karmila Parakkasi, leader of WWF’s tiger research team in Sumatra.

“That was the highest number of tigers and tiger images obtained… we’ve ever experienced.”

WWF’s Forest and Species programme director Anwar Purwoto said “This video confirms the extreme importance of these forests in the Bukit Tigapuluh ecosystem and its wildlife corridor. WWF calls for all concessions operating in this area to abandon plans to clear this forest and protect areas with high conservation value.”

“We also urge the local, provincial and central government to take into consideration the importance of this corridor and manage it as part of Indonesia’s commitments to protecting biodiversity,” he said.

Indonesia has agreed to implement a two-year moratorium on new forest clearance, but the deal has not yet been signed into law. Hopefully that might happen before it is too late for the tigers.

Newswarped has some sympathy for the Indonesian government though. The developed nations cleared most of their forests years ago before conservation and global warning were even heard of.

The Indonesian government is entitled to exploit their resources, even if it is unsustainable and environmentally damaging, but they probably need some more tangible incentive to do the right thing than just the gratitude of the world’s wildlife lovers.

The logging company Barito Pacific has yet to comment on the tiger find.