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Footage shows land clearing threatens Indonesia tigers: WWF

by Staff Writers
Jakarta (AFP) Oct 12, 2010
New infra-red footage released Tuesday captures a rare tiger roaming in protected forests on Indonesia's Sumatra island, which conservationists alleged to have been illegally cleared.

The video captured in May and June this year was released by environmental group WWF, which has been monitoring Sumatran tigers since last year in a wildlife preserve near Bukit Tigapuluh national park in Riau province.

In one clip, a male Sumatran tiger was seen walking towards a camera and sniffing it.

About a week later, a bulldozer was seen flattening land at the same spot, believed to be making way for roads to new palm-oil plantations, WWF spokeswoman Desmarita Murni told AFP.

"There were strong indications of illegal land-clearing activities and this must be investigated. The video showed concrete evidence that there were threats to tigers in this area," she added.

The WWF said it had reported the land clearing in the Bukit Batabuh area to the authorities and "the operations have since stopped".

"But we don't know when they will come back, so we're urging for monitoring to be intensified in the area," Murni said.

Human-animal conflicts are a rising problem as people encroach on wildlife habitats in Indonesia, an archipelago with some of the world's largest remaining tropical forests.

There are as few as 400 Sumatran tigers left in the wild in Indonesia, WWF said.

earlier related report
Ten killed in Indonesia landslide
Palu, Indonesia (AFP) Oct 13, 2010 - At least 10 people have been killed and another three were feared dead after they were buried in a landslide on Indonesia's Sulawesi island, police said Wednesday.

A steep part of a hill in the Morowali district of Central Sulawesi province collapsed on Tuesday and engulfed dozens of people working for a local palm oil company, local police chief Suhirman told AFP.

"The workers were taking a lunch break on the hill's slope when the incident happened," he said.

Heavy rains as well as excavation work to build an access road for the plantation company may have been partly to blame for the landslide, he said, adding that 18 people were also injured, most suffering broken bones.

Search and rescue teams were trying to locate the three missing people using heavy machinery but hopes were slim of finding them alive as they were buried in about five metres of earth, Suhirman said.

At least 148 people were killed earlier this month when flash floods struck a remote region of eastern Indonesia.

Indonesia's climatology agency said most parts of the Southeast Asian archipelago had experienced torrential rains, strong winds, high waves and flooding due to extreme weather this year.

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