Sometimes it takes a heartbreaking video to fully grasp the scale to which some human activities are jeopardizing habitats of crucial species around the world. When the World Wildlife Fund installed a camera on the grounds of a forest in Indonesia's Riau Province, they were hoping to better understand the movement of the highly endangered Sumatran tigers that live there -- but what they captured instead was devastation.The WWF installed heat-activated cameras in the forests of Indonesia to track the elusive and endangered tiger between two important protected wildlife preserves in Bukit Batabuh. This footage, captured between May and June 2010, shows one such tiger curiously examining the device under cover of night. Just a week later, the camera is activated yet again -- by a bulldozer clearing that exact spot, presumably to make room for an illegal palm oil plantation.
Later on, another big cat passes through the recently wasted forest.
Video via The Telegraph
Director of Investigation and Forest Protection, M. Awriya Ibrahim, to One World:
These video camera traps show that Bukit Batabuh area is an important habitat for the Sumatran tiger in Riau, functioning as a wildlife corridor, hence it becomes a priority area for tiger conservation. Forest clearance in this area threatens this endangered species because it reduces natural habitat and consequently increases human-tiger conflicts, an unfortunate consequence for both sides. Therefore, we encourage all stakeholders -- namely provincial and district level government, business sectors, and communities -- to support protection for this landscape.
There are thought to be around 400 Sumatran tigers left in the forest of Indonesia. Habitat encroachment from illegal palm oil plantations are largely blamed for their continual decline in numbers. While such realities often are considered in the abstract, video like the one captured by the WWF help clarify just how devastating the destruction can be -- something these tigers must face on a daily basis.
More on Endangered Sumatran Tigers
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Tiger Tops WWF's List of Ten Critically Endangered Species