Tue, Jul 13, 2010 - Page 5 News List

Tiger rescue plan discussed in Indonesia

AFP , NUSA DUA, INDONESIA

In this photo taken on Feb. 12, a rare 12-year-old Sumatran tiger named Trenggani jumps into the water at Ragunan Zoo in Jakarta, Indonesia.

PHOTO: AFP

Representatives from 13 “tiger-range countries” met in Indonesia yesterday to draft a global recovery plan ahead of a summit in Russia in September.

“We’re gathering here because we share concerns about the sustainability of tigers,” Indonesian Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan said in an opening address to delegates in Bali. “It is alarming that out of the nine tiger subspecies in the world, only six are remaining.”

The plan to be drafted in Bali will be used as the basis for discussion at a “tiger summit” in St Petersburg from Sept. 15 to 18.

“In Indonesia alone, only the Sumatran tiger still exists, while the other two subspecies have become extinct,” the minister said, referring to Javan and Balinese tigers which were wiped out in the 1980s and 1940s respectively.

He blamed a “lack of law enforcement” for the continuing losses of Sumatran tigers, which number only about 400 in the wild.

Several are killed every year by poachers and villagers who compete with them for dwindling forest resources.

WWF says the global, wild population of tigers of all species has fallen from about 100,000 to an estimated 3,200 over the past century.

Countries invited to the St Petersburg summit are ­Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Indonesia, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Russia, Thailand and Vietnam.

The pre-summit talks, which end tomorrow, will hear details of each country’s tiger ­protection plans and funding proposals.

Harry Santoso, Indonesia’s conservation ­official, said ahead of the talks that Jakarta would ask for more than US$175 million in foreign aid to implement its plan to double the Sumatran tiger ­population by 2022.

The plan focuses on mitigation of human-animal conflict and better law enforcement, including stiffer penalties to stop poaching and ­forest destruction. Human-­animal conflicts are a rising problem as forests are destroyed for timber or palm oil plantations, forcing animals such as elephants and tigers into closer contact with people.

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