Warning: this blog contains images and video footage that may upset you.
Recently word came to the Greenpeace office in Indonesia that a Sumatran tiger was stuck in an animal trap in an area being logged by Asia Pulp and Paper (APP).
It was trapped for six days in total without food or water. After a week of suffering, forest officers arrived to evacuate the tiger -- but it was too late. The tiger died during the rescue attempt.
Zamzami, a Greenpeace media campaigner, traveled to the area with the rescue team as an observer and was present for the tiger’s last few hours. He describes the scene that met him:
Despite its ordeal the “tiger still emitted a strong wild aura” and “greeted me with an angry roar”. Everyone present stood stunned and silent to see the “King of the jungle lying low, trapped and suffering in his own home”.
The spot where the tiger became trapped was on the border of PT Arara Abadi, an APP acacia plantation in the province of Riau. Video footage reveals that nearby the spot where the tiger wandered into the trap, and later died, there was a large area of recently destroyed forest where active clearing was ongoing. That means a lot of disruptive activity was happening: trees were being felled and heavy machinery, like excavators, were busy clearing the rainforest.
Only 13 kilometres away from where the excavators were at work is the spot where this animal spent its last days trapped, injured and starving. Unfortunately, more tragic moments like this are the future that is in store for this majestic animal. The Sumatran tiger is already endangered, there are only around 400 remaining in the wild and -- now we know -- even one less than that.
Yet APP operations in Indonesia continue to clear rainforest that includes tiger habitat, destroying the home and hunting grounds of the Sumatran tiger in order to feed APP’s pulp and paper operations.
From there what was once rainforest ends up in all sorts of things -- like throw-away toy packaging. Some of this packaging has been used by toy companies such as Hasbro, Disney and Mattel. And the future doesn’t look any better.
APP has ambitious expansion plans and the areas of rainforest it plans to expand into include more tiger habitat.
Someone once said that roads in a forest are like veins -- once opened they can end up draining the forest of life.
Follow Kevin Grandia on Twitter: www.twitter.com/kgrandia