A VIDEO camera hidden in an Indonesian forest has captured footage of a rare Sumatran tiger in the wild and a bulldozer clearing the same area a week later for palm oil plantations, conservationists WWF said yesterday.
Habitat destruction has pushed Sumatran tigers to the brink of extinction, with just 400 left in Indonesia from a worldwide tiger population of 3,200, said WWF.
A dispute between the palm oil industry and environmentalists has broad implications for Indonesia, whose plans to limit forest clearing may slow the aggressive expansion of plantation firms in the world's top palm oil producer.
Footage captured by a WWF camera hidden in a forest in Riau, Sumatra, shows a male Sumatran tiger walking up and sniffing the device. A week later, it filmed a bulldozer clearing trees in the same area to make way for palm oil, WWF said.
A tiger is seen soon after walking through the flattened landscape.
"If we look at the status of the area, it is not an area dedicated for palm oil, which indicates this might be illegal clearing," said Ian Kosasih of WWF Indonesia. "This tells us that law enforcement is weak and improvement is needed."
Habitat destruction, he said, was also putting tigers in closer contact with people and increasing the risk of attacks on humans.
Indonesia plans a two-year moratorium on new permits to clear natural forest.Reuters