Commuters in this morning’s notorious Jakarta rush-hour did double-takes as hundreds of homeless Sumatran tigers descended on Indonesia’s Ministry of Forestry to urge the Government to take action to stop companies like Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) from destroying their forest homes.
Greenpeace activists in tiger suits gathered outside the huge Ministry building, and tiger-shaped crime scene chalk marks decorated the forecourt. Greenpeace is urging Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan to enforce the laws which are meant to protect Indonesia’s forests for the people and for critically endangered species like the Sumatran tiger and Sumatran orang-utan.
Now fewer than 400 Sumatran tigers remain in the wild. To put this into perspective, Sumatra is around twice the size of the UK. Sumatran tigers are being driven to extinction for the sake of toilet tissue, packaging and other paper products. Most of the tissues produced from Indonesia’s forests are for export.
Greenpeace activists also called on the Minister for an update on action to addressthe report we handed to his ministry on 1 March, detailing the illegal processing of CITES protected ramin timber at APP’s Indah Kiat pulp mill in Riau, Sumatra.
The trade in ramin has been strictly regulated since 2001 under Indonesian law and international CITES regulations. Government maps show that about 800,000 hectares (28 percent) of Sumatra’s peatland forest was cleared between 2003 and 2009. Approximately 22 percent of the clearing took place in areas that are currently allocated to APP timber suppliers.
APP’s activities are pushing the majestic Sumatran tiger ever closer to extinction. Tiger habitat destruction in turn pushes tigers closer towards villages and into conflict with humans. Over the last few years, a number of local people have been killed or injured by tigers hunting for scarce food.
According to the Director General of Indonesia’s Conservation and Forest Protection Agency (PHKA) at least 40 Sumatran tigers died during 2011 .
Since the release of the illegal ramin scandal, APP has been shedding customers around the World including Danone, Mondi, Xerox and many more.
Greenpeace urges Indonesia’s Government to conduct a full investigation into APP’s use of ramin to signal their commitment to enforce forest regulations and to protect the last remaining forests for the people, the climate and the tigers.