Tiger find prompts WWF pressure against planned logging

WWF image released on 9 May 2011 shows a rare Sumatran tiger with a cub in images recorded in March and April 2011 in Bukit Tigapuluh in Indonesia's eastern Sumatra
Image caption Images from the forest in Sumatra include a mother playing with her cubs

The conservation charity, WWF, has recorded images of 12 rare Sumatran tigers, including a mother playing with cubs, in an Indonesian forest.

The area is reportedly due to be cleared by loggers - a process which the WWF says must be stopped.

WWF captured the images with concealed cameras in the Bukit Tigapuluh forest and is trying to determine the reasons for the rich showing of tigers.

There are around 400 Sumatran tigers left in the wild.

The video was recorded in March and April.

"What's unclear is whether we found so many tigers because we're getting better at locating our cameras or because the tiger's habitat is shrinking so rapidly here that they are being forced into sharing smaller and smaller bits of forests," said Karmila Parakkasi, leader of WWF's tiger research team in Sumatra.

"That was the highest number of tigers and tiger images obtained... we've ever experienced," the researcher added.

Campaign fodder

The area in which the tigers were found includes natural forest inside a land concession belonging to Barito Pacific Timber, the WWF said.

WWF is one of several environmental groups campaigning actively to curtail what they see as rampant incursions into rapidly diminishing forests.

"This video confirms the extreme importance of these forests in the Bukit Tigapuluh ecosystem and its wildlife corridor," the WWF's forest and species programme director Anwar Purwoto said.

"WWF calls for all concessions operating in this area to abandon plans to clear this forest and protect areas with high conservation value," he added.

"We also urge the local, provincial and central government to take into consideration the importance of this corridor and manage it as part of Indonesia's commitments to protecting biodiversity," he said.

Barito Pacific could not be reached for comment.

Indonesia has agreed to implement a two-year moratorium on new forest clearance, but the deal has not yet been signed into law.

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