WWF, the Worldwide Fund for Nature, had recently captured footage of twelve endangered Sumatran tigers in Indonesia’s Bukit Tigapuluh forest on central Sumatra Island. The forest is becoming smaller and smaller as a result of palm oil and paper plantations. The entire forest is planned to be cleared in the future.
The images include stills of six different tigers, as well as a mother with a cub. The videos show a female tiger with three cubs as they play around while chasing a leaf.
WWF’s assessments imply that there are only around 400 Sumatran tigers left alive in the wild today. Over the last fifty years alone, Indonesia has lost both the Bali tiger and the Java tiger. Karmila Parakkasi, WWF’s Sumatra tiger research team leader, explained that the number of tigers seen during the two months of observation was unusual.
“What’s unclear is whether we found so many tigers because we’re getting better at locating our cameras, or because the tigers’ habitat is shrinking so rapidly here that they are being forced into sharing smaller and smaller bits of forest,” she said.
What About the Tigers?
According to WWF, Indonesia’s government had promised to protect the forest environment. However, the area is currently used by a subsidiary of an Indonesian paper company called Barito Timber Pacific.
“As soon as pending permits are granted by the government, the company could clear the forest to supply the wood to Asia Pulp& Paper of Sinar Mas Group,” said WWF. The organization added that it and many other environmental groups are opposed to the deforestation plan.