- Indonesia's last species of tiger - the Sumatran tiger
- is doomed unless the trade in its body parts is stopped and its habitats
saved, campaigners warn.
- One estimate suggests there may be only 400-500 of the
tigers left in the wild.
- A new report says demand for medicinal ingredients, trophies,
charms and souvenirs in Asia is driving a programme of killing by hunters.
- The concern is raised by Traffic, the wildlife monitoring
network, and WWF, the global conservation organisation.
- Traffic's undercover investigators found what they described
as a substantial domestic Indonesian market for tiger parts.
- The investigators found animal products in 17 of the
24 towns they visited. About 20% of 453 shops they went to had body parts
on sale, mostly teeth and claws. Much of this trade is done in the open,
says Traffic, even though it is illegal.
- The campaign groups argue this trade is unsustainable.
They claim there is evidence to show that at least 50 Sumatran tigers have
been poached per year between 1998 and 2002.
- Loss of habitat
- "Increased and improved enforcement is the only
thing that is going to save the Sumatran tigers," said Chris Shepherd,
a co-author of the Traffic-WWF report.
- "As a first step, action should be taken against
the markets, trade hubs and retail outlets highlighted in the report, especially
in northern Sumatra. More specialised anti-poaching units also need to
be established urgently."
- The report, called Nowhere To Hide: The Trade In Sumatran
Tigers, also shows how the trade in Sumatran tiger parts extends to South
Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, Japan, Malaysia and China.
- The Sumatran tiger is listed as Critically Endangered,
the highest category of threat. The fear is that it will go the same way
as two other tiger subspecies, the Bali and Javan tigers, which became
extinct in the 1930s and 1980s respectively.
- Loss of forest habitat is another major threat to the
Sumatran tiger. The remaining animals are being pushed back by logging
companies which exploit Indonesia's lowland rainforests to supply the world
with paper pulp.
- Traffic and WWF want the paper companies to agree to
a moratorium on their logging operations in natural forest, some of which
is prime tiger habitat, until the conservation value of the forests can
- © BBC MMIV