A Sumatran tiger in Gunung Leuser National Park
The expansion of illegal oil palm plantations into
Indonesian national parks is pushing the Sumatran tiger towards extinction, a
study has found.
Fewer than 600 of the species remain in the wild and it is
graded as Critically Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of
Nature. The study examined 15 landscapes on the island of Sumatra that provide
habitat for the tiger and found that a fifth of the forest cover had been lost
since 2000, largely due to palm oil plantations.
The lead author of the study, Mathew Luskin, told
Mongabay: “We found that the primary threat to tiger populations has
switched from poaching to habitat loss over the last two decades.”
Only Mount Leuser and Kerinci Seblat national parks have now
sufficiently large Sumatran tiger populations, with more than 30 breeding-age
females each, that can be sustained over the long term.
Both parks remain
under pressure from illegal plantation expansion.
Luskin told Mongabay: “We would like a complete stop to all
future deforestation and zero tiger poaching in all remaining tiger