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Indonesia to relocate endangered tigers
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17:49, October 31, 2007

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Indonesia would not change its land-use policy and plan to move endangered animals, such as tiger, living in part of jungle given over to timber and palm-oil plantation in Sumatra Island, Forestry Minister Malam Sambat Kaban said on Wednesday.

Minister Kaban said that the species must be relocated to their conservation areas before the opening of new plantation or the beginning of project for timber.

"Should the animals found in the non-forestry areas that will be used for palm oil plantation, the animals must be relocated," he told Xinhua at the State Palace here.

The minister said that the government had determined areas for conservation which have been the habitat of the animals and non-forest areas for commercial purposes.

"We have established the areas for conservation and for economy," he said.

Kaban stressed that the animals in the non-forestry areas must be saved and moved to the conservation areas.

"The animals have their own habitat, so called the conservation for tiger, conservation for Rhinoceros, conservation for tapirs and others," he said.

Should companies, which want to begin plantation, found the rare animals in their territory, they must save the species first.

"The plantation company must cooperate with conservation board to initially move the animal before land clearing," he said.

Conservationists have found several scarce species including Sumatran tigers, families of elephants, sun bears, tapirs, golden cats and clouded leopards, living in parts of the Indonesian jungle given over to timber and oil-palm plantations in Sumatra Island.

They warn that the habitats for these rare animals could be destroyed by the plantations and have called on the authorities to reconsider the way they allocate land for agricultural use.

They also found evidence of the Sumatran tiger, classified as critically endangered. The smallest of all tiger subspecies and found only in Sumatra, it is believed there are only 250 mature individuals left. It is threatened by habitat loss and poaching.

Indonesia is one of the world's most ecologically diverse regions.

Source: Xinhua

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