Teenager killed by a tiger just 1.8 km off APP pulpwood supplier

EoF News / 16 August 2010

PEKANBARU (EoF News)— An 18 year-old rubber farmer was killed by Sumatran tiger (panthera tigris Sumatrae) last week, Monday (9 August 2010), and the location of deadly human-tiger conflict was only 1,8 kilometer away from PT Ruas Utama Jaya’s pulpwood concession, a pulpwood supplier of Asia Pulp & Paper (APP).

Ahmad Rafii (18) was killed instantly after being attacked by a Sumatran tiger on Monday morning when the teenager incised rubber trees for producing latex. His father, Sumadi, told that he saw the tiger still ate his son’s body but he eventually managed to evict the tiger away.

Early morning Rafii and his mother left their home in Sarangolang sub-village of Kepenghuluan Jumrah village, to farm in rubber plantation where they work separately. 

Rimba Melintang Sub-district Head, Abdul Hamid, urged Natural Resource Conservancy Agency (BKKSDA) to catch the tiger killing the teenager as residents fear of going out to the rubber farm, Riau Pos daily reported Monday (16/8/2010).

As GIS Unit of WWF Indonesia's Riau office analyzed the human-tiger conflict situated in Sarongolang sub-village of Kepenghuluan Jumrah village, Rokan Hilir district, and it is just 1.8 km from concession of PT RUJ, one of two APP’s associated companies in Senepis forest block. 

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Osmantri Abeng, WWF Indonesia's Tiger Patrol Unit Coordinator, said that in 2006 a human-tiger conflict also occurred killing a housewife. The tiger’s attack reproached by massive revenge by villagers slaughtering the endangered species after setting a trap box to catch the animal. 

He worried that the revenge would occur again this year as his TPU team found trap boxes and snares prepared by the villagers to catch the tiger.

Abeng told that large-scale deforestation by APP’s PT RUJ and PT SGP contributed much to drive further human-tiger conflict as it broke out recently. “The location of incident which only 1.8 kilometer away PT RUJ’s concession showed that Senepis forest is stressed badly by rampant deforestation, either by mostly the two HTI companies [RUJ and SGP], or by migrants with encroachment.”

EoF learned that two APP affiliated companies, PT Ruas Utama Jaya (RUJ) and PT Suntara Gaja Pati (SGP), have been clearing large scale of natural forest in that peat forest block. 

In 2009, PT RUJ got 9,977 hectares to clear natural forest, while PT SGP 4,163 ha. This year, as new RKTs issued by the Ministry of Forestry, PT RUJ in two concessions obtained 3,865 and 2,776 (total 6,641 ha), while PT SGP 6,356 ha. In total, there is 27,137 ha of natural forest in Senepis that cleared recently by APP!

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APP claimed it has initiative in Senepis-Buluhala Sumatran Tiger Sanctuary along with the Government and NGOs to protect Sumatran tiger from extinction. APP set aside 15,025 ha for the Sumatran Tiger conservation, while PT Diamond Raya Timber, a selective logging concession company and outside APP, contributed most with 90,956 ha but seemingly it did not enjoy the move that taken over by the pulp giant for its global advertisement. 

Senepis Sumatran Tiger Conservation originally initiated by Dumai Mayor (2003) and Riau Forestry Service (2004) which proposed to allocate 34,800 ha from PT Suntara Gaja Pati’s concession and 5,850 ha land from PT DRT to be included in the conservation area, but APP approached the Ministry of Forestry and the company contributed only 15,025. DRT side was not invited to discuss the change. See WWF Report 2006

Eyes on the Forest found a direct correlation between tiger conflict and the unsustainable forest practices of APP/SMG-associated companies to supply APP’s pulp & paper production.

From 1997 to 2009, at least 147 of 245 or 60% of all conflicts in Riau, resulting in 27 human deaths (49%) and 8 tiger deaths (53%), occurred in the Senepis area, where APP/SMG-associated companies have expanded its natural forest clearance operations in five concessions mainly since 1999 -- three of them without proper license from the Ministry of Forestry. See EoF Press Release on Human-Tiger conflict

Abeng criticized that collaborative management by Senepis-Buluhala Tiger Sanctuary is not effective in dealing with threats and conflicts that occurred in the landscape. “More conflicts come in Senepis have showed that there should have been strategic approach by the working group and concession holders in assessing presence of Sumatran tigers and preys inside the production forest,” he told EoF.

Villagers blame APP for human-tiger conflict