Footage 'shows land clearing threat to Sumatran tigers'
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.
(c) 2010 AFP