As few as 400 tigers are thought to remain in the rainforests of Sumatra, which are vanishing at a staggering rate – a quarter of a million hectares every year. Expansion of oil palm and pulpwood plantations was 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. 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; this leads to more poaching for tiger skins and traditional medicines and more tiger attacks, resulting in both tiger and human deaths.
‘I do not want to explain to my granddaughter Almira that we, in our time, could not save the forests and the people that depend on it.’
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, 27 September 2011
The decline of Sumatran tigers is a measure o
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