Tag Archive | Tiger

Plantations winnow tigers down to few hundreds

tigers down

 

Business Mirror – Nov, 2nd 2013

Written by Thallif Deen

UNITED NATIONS—The tiger population in the rainforests of Sumatra is vanishing at a staggering rate, reducing the number of the endangered species to as few as 400, warns Greenpeace International.

The primary reason is the expansion of oil palm and pulpwood plantations, which are responsible for nearly two-thirds of the destruction of tiger habitat from 2009 to 2011, the most recent period for which official Indonesian government data are available.

In a new study released last week, Greenpeace says such destruction fragments the extensive tracts of rainforest over which tigers need to range in order to hunt.

“It also increases their contact with humans,” the study says. “This leads to more poaching for tiger skins and traditional medicines and more tiger attacks, resulting in both tiger and human deaths.”

The decline of Sumatran tigers is a measure of the loss of rainforest, biodiversity and also climate stability, according to the study titled “Licence to Kill.”

This summer, huge fires, both accidental and deliberate, raged across the Sumatran province of Riau, destroying hundreds of thousands of hectares of rainforests—including the deep peatland forests that are a last stand of tiger habitat in the province.

The fires released record amounts of greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions and pollutants in a haze that stretched as far as Thailand.

There are no estimates on how many tigers have been killed so far, although the figure could be in the thousands over the last decade.

Asked whether the United Nations is engaged in the protection of tigers, Bustar Maitar, the Indonesian head of Greenpeace’s Forest Campaign and Global Forest Network, told Inter Press Service (IPS), “I don’t see much UN activity on forests.

“The only thing I know is the UN Development Programme [UNPD] manages a $1-billion fund from the Norwegian government for the UN collaborative initiative on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation [REDD].” He said REDD was working closely with its Indonesian counterpart to accelerate REDD projects in Indonesia.

Maitar also said the UN’s focus is more on general sustainable development and democracy in Indonesia than on protecting the tiger, described as a critically endangered species.

“Or they might not really be clear as to how to fit in with this issue in Indonesia,” he said, adding that the UN could provide more technical assistance and capacity building for government and civil society.

The UN REDD program was launched in 2008 and encompasses the technical expertise of UNDP, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and the UN Environment Programme.

It supports nationally led REDD+ processes and “promotes the informed and meaningful involvement of all stakeholders, including indigenous peoples and other forest-dependent communities, in national and international REDD+ implementation,“ according to the United Nations.

Currently, about 85 percent of Indonesia’s GHG emissions typically come from land-use changes (principally related to deforestation for plantations or agriculture), and around half of this is peat-related.

Even Sumatran tiger habitat in protected areas such as the world-famous Tesso Nilo National Park has been virtually destroyed by encroachment for illegal palm-oil production, and government officials acknowledge that protection for such areas exists only on paper, Greenpeace International says.

The study also points out that forested tiger habitat in licensed plantation concessions has no protection at all. One million hectares—10 percent of all remaining forested tiger habitat—remained at risk of clearance in pulp and oil palm concessions in 2011. Over the 2009-to-2011 period, pulpwood suppliers were responsible for a sixth of all forested tiger habitat loss. And during the same period, the palm-oil sector cleared a quarter of the remaining tiger habitat in its concessions.

“These failures expose how unregulated and irresponsible expansion, notably of oil palm and pulp wood plantations, undermines the Indonesian government’s commitments to stop deforestation and to save the tiger and other endangered wildlife,” the study says.

Greenpeace also says its investigations have revealed that household foreign consumer brands are linked to Singapore-based Wilmar International Ltd. and its international trade in dirty palm-oil.

Wilmar is the world’s largest palm-oil processor, accounting for over one-third of the global palm oil processing market and with a distribution network covering over 50 countries.UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon points out that forests are vital for human well-being.

In a message for the International Day of Forests in March, Ban said forests cover nearly a third of the globe and provide an invaluable variety of social, economic and environmental benefits.

Three-fourths of freshwater comes from forested catchment areas. Forests stabilize slopes and prevent landslides, while also protecting coastal communities against tsunamis and storms.

More than 3 billion people use wood for fuel, some 2 billion people depend on forests for sustenance and income, and 750 million live within them, he added.

Ban also said forests are often at the frontlines of competing demands. Urbanization and the consumption needs of growing populations are linked to deforestation for large-scale agriculture and the extraction of valuable timber, oil and minerals.

Often the roads that provide infrastructure for these enterprises ease access for other forest users, who can further exacerbate the rate of forest and biodiversity loss. “We need now to intensify efforts to protect forests, including by incorporating them into the post-2015 development agenda and the sustainable development goals,” Ban noted.

“I urge governments, businesses and all sectors of society to commit to reducing deforestation, preventing forest degradation, reducing poverty and promoting sustainable livelihoods for all forest-dependent peoples,” he said.

Video Reveals Rare Tiger Cubs in Sumatran Forest

One of the tiger cubs caught on camera. CREDIT: The Zoological Society of London

One of the tiger cubs caught on camera.
CREDIT: The Zoological Society of London

Our Amazing Planet

A camera trap caught video of a mother tiger and her two cubs in a protected Sumatran forest, the first evidence of breeding in this location, conservationists say.

The footage was captured in Sumatra’s Sembilang National Park. Scientists from the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) have documented evidence before of the endangered species in nearby Berbak National Park.

The video of these big cats shows the mother and her two youngsters walking past the camera. Scientists said they estimate the cubs are less than a year old, according to a ZSL release.

“This is the best early Christmas present, and we are absolutely delighted to find the first evidence of breeding in Sembilang,” said Sarah Christie, ZSL head of regional conservation programs, in a statement. “We will continue working with leaders of both national parks as well as the government to ensure the areas are better protected and well patrolled.”

watch the video here

The finding gives scientists some hope; there are only 300 Sumatran tigers, the smallest of the tiger species, estimated to be in the wild, according to the release. Camera traps have also caught video of tapirs and sunbears in the nearby Berbak forest.

Sembilang and Berbak National Park are some of the only places in the world where these tigers remain, according to the release.

Reach Douglas Main at dmain@techmedianetwork.com. Follow him on Twitter @Douglas_Main. Follow OurAmazingPlanet on Twitter @OAPlanet. We’re also on Facebook and Google+.

Priceless or Worthless? The Fight for Earth’s Most Endangered Species

If some smidgen of bacterial goo was found on a faraway asteroid, it would be the discovery of the year, perhaps the century. Life on Earth would not be alone! Yet when it comes to the life that surrounds us, people can be remarkably cavalier, even downright callous: What’s another frog species more or less? What’s it do for us, anyways?

Indeed, many conservationists have renounced the species-saving approach to nature, instead embracing the notion that nature is best preserved when it provides people with some tangible economic benefit. Creatures that don’t have an obvious utilitarian value are out of luck.

Some conservationists are fighting back. In “Priceless or Worthless?,” a report issued Sept. 11 by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Zoological Society of London, a desperate plea is made on behalf of Earth’s 100 most threatened species — creatures that, without direct and immediate human action, will cease to exist.

Among the menagerie of the endangered are rhinos and rats, turtles and birds, even insects and plants and fungi. These last are hardly charismatic, and not the sort of species typically associated with inspirational calls to protect life, yet they make the essential moral question all the more striking: What has a right to life?

“While the utilitarian value of nature is important, conservation goes beyond this. Do these species have a right to survive, or do we have a right to drive them to extinction?” said Jonathan Baillie, the ZSL’s conservation director, in a press release.

On the following pages, Wired looks at a few of the imperiled species described in “Priceless or Worthless?” Each represents a singular form of life in the universe, and each is literally irreplaceable.

Starving tigers found on apartment block roof

Two tiger cubs were chained and kept in a cage on the rooftop of an apartment building in central Thailand. Source: AP

Heraldsun

THAI police said they had discovered six underfed tigers in specially-built cages on the roof of an apartment building, arresting a man who claimed he had been planning to open a zoo.

Four adult cats and two cubs were found at the property on an industrial estate in Pathumthani province, north of Bangkok, in the raid by police from Thailand’s Natural Resources and Environmental Crime Suppression Division.

A 28-year-old man, who lives in the building, was arrested at the scene and claimed to own the animals.

“The man said that he was preparing to open a zoo in the province”, said police Captain Montri Neepasee, who said the animals had not been given enough food and did not look “completely healthy”.

The tigers were fed with around 10,000 baht’s worth ($308) of chicken bones a month.

They did not get enough nutrients for their growth,” Capt Montri said, adding that the cubs were “stressed” in the small cages. 

He said the owner of the building, a cousin of the arrested man, denied all knowledge of the caged tigers.

Capt Montri added that the other occupants of the flats had apparently ignored the presence of the big cats on the roof.

“The renters are mostly factory workers and they do not seem to care about environmental issues,” he said.

Police said that the tigers will be sent to an animal sanctuary in a nearby province on Tuesday.

A second officer involved in the case, Colonel Panpong Panklump, said the arrested man had been charged with illegal possession of wildlife, which carries a maximum penalty of four years in prison.

He added he believed the tigers would have been sent to Vietnam, where there is demand for “their meat and skins”.

Thailand, a hub of international smuggling, is one of just 13 countries hosting fragile tiger populations. Worldwide, numbers are estimated to have fallen to only 3200 tigers from approximately 100,000 a century ago.

In February police busted a grisly exotic wildlife slaughterhouse in Bangkok when officers caught four men in the act of chopping up a tiger in a residential home.

 

Will 6 Species Perish? Asia’s Conservation Crossroads

 

JOANNA M. FOSTER | NY Times

On Sept. 1, 1914, the last passenger pigeon on earth died in captivity at the Cincinnati Zoo. The species, once numbering in the billions, had been hunted to extinction.

Around the same time, another iconic North American species, the bison, was also being hunted past the point of no return. But the bison didn’t die off steadily until the last one perished in an enclosure. The species rebounded, and today shaggy herds meander through Yellowstone National Park, blissfully unaware of how close they came to being wiped out.

This week, the story of the passenger pigeon and the bison is being highlighted halfway across the globe, at a conference organized by the International Union for Conservation of Nature in Jeju, South Korea. The Wildlife Conservation Society has circulated a list of Asian species that are at a “conservation crossroads” and are desperately in need of the sort of concerted effort that prevented the bison from going the way of the passenger pigeon.

The list includes the tiger, orangutans, Mekong giant catfish, Asian rhinos, Asian giant river turtles, and Asian vultures. Some of the biggest threats to those species are the conversion of land to palm oil plantations and poaching for the illegal wildlife trade.

Joe Walston, executive director of Asia programs for the Wildlife Conservation Society, said the conference comes at a critical moment for the region. “Asia is going through many of the changes that took place in North America a century ago and is fast becoming a global economic powerhouse,” he said. “But along with that comes the impacts of development.”

Action by governments will be critical to success, he added. “As a region, Asia now really has total control over what happens to the species in the area. Governments finally have the capacity and financial means to turn the tide on extinctions, if they choose to accept the responsibility,” he said.

India is receiving recognition at the conference for an explicit high-profile commitment that it made in 1972 to protect wild tigers within its borders. “India took full responsibility for the fate of its wild tigers,” Dr. Walston said. “As a result, India is now the global center of tiger conservation.”

What conservation officials long for are parallel commitments from other countries in the region, including tough crackdowns on the illegal wildlife trade.

“Currently, Asia is one of the leading consumers of wildlife and wildlife products,” Dr. Walston said. “Asia will thus define not only the destiny of local species but species from around the world.”

 

India bans tourists from tiger reserves

Rare sight: A tiger in India’s Ranthambore National Park
Flickr: bjoern

India’s Supreme Court has ordered a ban on tourism in more than 40 of the country’s central government-run tiger reserves.

In a landmark ruling, it warned that states that failed to implement the ban could face contempt proceedings and fines.

Tiger numbers have shrunk in India.

A century ago there were an estimated 100,000 tigers, but a census last year counted fewer than 2,000 in the wild.

Conservation groups have welcomed the ruling, describing it as a significant development.

BBC/ABC

 

Study Shows There May Be More Sumatran Tigers Than Previously Thought

The Jakarta Globe
Fidelis E. Satriastanti | July 17, 2012

Indonesia’s forests are home to at least 600 Sumatran tigers, a recently released survey has found, providing a more optimistic picture than a 1994 official report that put the head count for the rare species at between 400 and 500.

The latest survey was conducted from 2007 to 2009 on more than 250 square kilometers of forest covering 38 nature reserves.

“Sumatran tigers were detected in 27 to 29 nature reserves,” Hariyo T. Wibisono, chairman of the Harimau Kita (Our Tigers) conservation forum told BeritaSatu on Monday. “There are Sumatran tigers in those areas but the exact figure is still not known. [We] only know the distribution, in which [areas] they are high, low or stable.”

Hariyo attributed the higher figure not to an increase in population, but to a better extrapolation method. He said the method used in the 1994 survey was not as accurate as that used in the more recent study, adding that the earlier research surveyed only seven locations: five national parks and two conservation forests in Sumatra.

“The figure [400 to 500] was announced in 1994 and the counting was conducted in 1992. But after a population-viability analysis was conducted, it turned out the extrapolation method was inaccurate,” he explained.

To find out about the distribution pattern of the Sumatran tigers, several NGOs whose primary concern is to prevent the extinction of the species conducted the latest survey and publicized the result in a scientific journal last year.

A second survey covering 59 percent of the 38 nature reserves showed that Sumatran tigers inhabit 72 percent of the total tiger habitat area.

“Data compilation used to count the population came from camera traps set up by several NGOs,” Hariyo explained. “They showed there were at least 600 individual tigers. But this hasn’t covered all [areas].”

He said that counting tiger population with camera trapping was difficult due to insufficient resources given the breadth of land that needed to be supervised.

Hariyo said counting the tiger population was not as important as finding ways to protect the rare species.

“In protecting Sumatran tigers, information about their population estimates is not important,” Hariyo said. “What’s important is for the management to know whether they are increasing, declining or remaining stable, as seen from the indicators of their presence and distribution.”

He added that he was always careful about mentioning figures because of the methodology issues.

Dara, a critically endangered Sumatran tiger rescued from a hunter’s trap in Bengkulu in February, was transferred to the Taman Safari Indonesia park in Bogor earlier this month. The female tiger, estimated at 4 to 5 years of age, was found by officials in a logging concession in Mukomuko district. Her front legs were seriously injured from the metal cables in which she was ensnared. The trap was believed to have been set up by poachers.

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