(ENDANGERED TIGERS) Watch the video in a forest in Indonesia where three Sumatran tiger cubs playfully chase a leaf and adult tigers, captured on infrared cameras, roam through a clearing at night. The footage exemplifies why the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) is urging logging companies to drop plans to cut down Indonesian forest areas where these critically endangered Sumatran tigers and their cubs live. How rare are these tigers? There are only about 400 left in the wild, according to the WWF, of which 12 live in the Bukit Tigapuluh forest that’s on the chopping block. Unless the Indonesian government enforces its pledge to protect this forest area, the Sumatran tiger will most likely go the way of the Bali Tiger and the Java Tiger, which is to say, gone forever.

While the WWF is applying pressure to reverse the logging threat, we can all take action in support of tiger conservation as individuals, such as reducing paper waste and buying recycled paper and FSC-certified wood products. Recycling isn’t glamourous, and the big picture of how our choices effect a global reality can seem like an abstraction. But a world without tigers is too drab to contemplate. Thankfully, there’s still time to ensure that tigers, with their magnificent stripes, remain part our world’s design. – Leah Lessard Jeon, Global Animal

The WWF suggests these ways to help rebuild tiger populations.

JAKARTA, May 9 (Reuters Life!) – Environmental group WWF has recorded images of 12 endangered Sumatran tigers, including a mother playing with cubs, in an Indonesian forest that it said is about to be cleared by loggers.

WWF, which estimates that there are only 400 Sumatran tigers left in the wild, captured the images on camera traps in the Bukit Tigapuluh forest on central Sumatra island, which has seen rampant deforestation for palm oil and paper plantations.

Karmila Parakkasi, leader of WWF’s tiger research team in Sumatra, said the number of big cats seen in two months of observation was impressive.

“What’s unclear is whether we found so many tigers because we’re getting better at locating our cameras or because the tiger’s habitat is shrinking so rapidly here that they are being forced into sharing smaller and smaller bits of forests,” Parakkasi said.

Still images show six individual tigers and a mother with a cub, while the video shows footage of another mother and three young cubs playfully chasing a leaf.

WWF said Indonesia’s government had pledged to protect this forest area, but it was inside a land concession belonging to a subsidiary of Indonesian paper firm Barito Timber Pacific (BRPT.JK). The firm was not immediately available for comment.

“As soon as pending permits are granted by the government, the company could clear the forest to supply the wood to Asia Pulp & Paper of Sinar Mas Group,” said WWF, adding that it and other environmental groups have opposed the clearance plan.

A spokesman for Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) said Barito Pacific Timber does not provide any pulpwood to its mills, and it fully supported the permanent protection of the area, with no clearing of the Bukit Tigapuluh national park by APP pulpwood suppliers.

WWF said that APP’s mill was the closest to the area with the tigers, and received supplies from nearby firms. Indonesia agreed with Norway a two-year moratorium on new permits to clear forest, under a landmark $1 billion deal to curb greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation, but it has yet to be signed into law as ministries wrangle over details.

The moratorium was expected to slow rapid industry expansion by the world’s largest producer of palm oil, used to make everything from biscuits and soap to biodiesel and seeing growing demand from consumers in fast-growing Asia.

Sinar Mas has come under fire from environmentalists over deforestation, leading major consumer firms such as Unilever (ULVR.L), Nestle (NESN.VX) and Burger King to stop buying palm oil from it.

In the last 50 years, Indonesia has lost both the Bali tiger and Java tiger. (Reporting by Alfian and Neil Chatterjee; Editing by Paul Casciato)

More Reuters: http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/05/09/indonesia-environment-tigers-idUSLDE74822I20110509

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