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NEWS UPDATES 12 October 2010

Camera catches illegal forest clearing

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A video camera trap installed by the World Wildlife Foundation (WWF) and its partners has captured footage linking the destruction of a crucial Sumatran tiger forest to the expansion of palm oil plantations in Indonesia's Riau Province.

A news release from the environmental nongovernmental organizations says videos and photos captured in May and June 2010 - released to the public for the first time on Tuesday - caught a male Sumatran tiger walking straight to a camera and sniffing it.

A week later, the heat-activated-video camera trap documented a bulldozer clearing trees for an illegal palm oil plantation in the same exact location. The next day, the camera recorded a Sumatran tiger walking through the devastated landscape, the release says.

Bukit Batabuh, where the film was taken, was classified as a protected area by Riau Province's Land Use Planning in 1994 and categorized as a limited production forest based on Indonesia's 1986 Land Use Consensus, meaning no company can legally exploit the forest.

Since mid-2009, WWF has installed video camera traps in Bukit Batabuh to study Sumatran tiger distribution, habits, and threats they are facing. The wildlife corridor connects Rimbang Baling Wildlife Reserve and Bukit Tigapuluh National Park, making it a crucial area for tiger conservation.

Indonesia has adopted protection for critical tiger habitats as part of its commitment to the Conservation Strategy and Action Plan for Sumatran Tiger 2007, and the National Tiger Recovery Plan, delivered at the Pre-Tiger Summit Partners' Dialogue.

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