Tiger land destroyed – on camera
12 October 2010
We’re always talking about how illegal forest destruction endangers tigers – and now you can see it happening for yourselves. Newly released video footage from a ‘camera trap’ in a protected forest in Sumatra makes the tigers’ plight alarmingly clear.
A video camera trap has captured footage that graphically shows the clash between illegal forest developments and wild tigers in Indonesia.
The three short clips compiled here were filmed earlier this year in Indonesia’s Riau Province and are released for the first time today. The first clip shows a male Sumatran tiger sniffing at the automated camera we set up with our partners in the forests of Bukit Betabuh. This is a protected area, where it’s illegal to clear trees or excavate land.
The second clip, filmed just a week later in the exact same location, shows a bulldozer clearing trees – most likely for an illegal palm oil plantation, a serious problem in Indonesia. The third clip, the following day, records a tiger walking through the now-devastated landscape.
This shows exactly the kind of illegal destruction that reduces vital habitat and pushes tigers into conflict with local people – with disastrous consequences all round.
Land-clearing for palm oil plantations have been going on for some time in this area. Workers have said they frequently find tiger tracks in palm oil plantations. The Indonesian Ministry of Forestry is investigating the evidence caught on our video and will take strong action to enforce the law.
We need your support to help increase patrols and to tackle illegal activity.
How we’re helping protect tigers
There are as few as 400 Sumatran tigers left in Indonesia. On top of habitat loss, the other big issue is illegal poaching and trading of tiger skins and body parts. In March this year our Tiger Patrol Unit and Riau’s Nature Conservation Agency confiscated more than 110 tiger snares in Bukit Betabuh alone.
We’ve been installing video camera traps in Bukit Betabuh since mid-2009, to study tiger distribution, habits and threats. These cameras have clearly shown this is an important habitat for the Sumatran tiger, functioning as a wildlife corridor connecting Rimbang Baling Wildlife Reserve and Bukit Tigapuluh National Park.
We’re also encouraging provincial and district level government, businesses and communities to support protection for this landscape. And it’s vital that global palm oil buyers and users don’t source material from farmers or producers who develop their plantations illegally – that’s why we back sustainably produced palm oil.
Indonesia has already committed to an Action Plan for the Sumatran Tiger, and of course it’s one of the 13 tiger range countries hoping to agree the plans to double wild tiger populations by 2022 at the Tiger Summit in Russia this November.
Find out how you can help us protect tigers
Sign our petition to take to the Tiger Summit
Adopt a tiger