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Greenpeace blames paper company for tiger's death

27 july 2011, 10:08
A male Sumatran tiger. ©Reuters
A male Sumatran tiger. ©Reuters
A graphic video showing the last hours of a rare Sumatran tiger as it writhes in a trap in Indonesia exposes the gruesome toll of rampant rainforest clearing, AFP reports, citing Greenpeace activists Tuesday.

Greenpeace Southeast Asia forest campaigner Zulfahmi said the trap was set up by villagers to catch wild pigs on a logging concession owned by Asia Pulp and Paper (APP), one of the world's biggest paper and packaging companies.

"The tiger died in a spot which is located on an APP concession. Due to land clearing by the company, the tigers have to leave their habitat," he told AFP.

"We urge the company to stop its land clearing activity in Indonesia... to avoid endangered animals becoming extinct."

Estimates of the number of Sumatran tigers remaining in the world range from 300 to 400. Several die each year as a result of traps, poaching or otherwise coming into contact with villagers who do not understand their plight.

The 18-month-old tiger died within three hours of being tranquilised by local conservation officials, said Greenpeace media campaigner Zamzami, who witnessed the incident.

The Greenpeace video shows the animal in obvious distress as it tries to pull its blackened paw free of the rope trap.

"The tiger died on July 1, seven days after it fell into the trap. It couldn't eat or drink, its paw had turned black already and there were many flies around it," Zamzami said.

Veterinary surgeons were called to the scene on Sumatra island's Riau province but were unable to save the tiger, he said.

A spokeswoman for Singapore-based APP was not immediately available to comment on the video.

But a tiger conservation organisation that receives funding from the company said local people were to blame for the tiger's death, not APP's destruction of tiger habitat in the area.

"We need to intensify our campaign with the local people so they stop setting up animal traps. We've urged them not to do so but they still set up traps," Sumatran Tiger Conservation Foundation organiser Bastoni said.

"The tiger was there in the acacia forest to hunt for animals, such as deer. And it died on the border of the acacia forest and the APP concession."

Greenpeace says logging by APP and other companies is destroying the tiger's habitat and driving them into ever closer and more dangerous contact with people.

But APP insists its activities are environmentally sustainable.

"It's the local people who set up the animal trap. Unless APP set up the trap, then we cannot blame the company," Bastoni said.

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