Villagers blame APP for human-tiger conflict

EoF News / 06 April 2009

PEKANBARU (EoF News)-- Villagers in human-tiger conflict area complained that timber companies drive threat of human-tiger conflict to residents following several incidents occurred in Kerumutan forest block.

In a meeting with forestry and law enforcement officials at district level in sub-district Gaung, Indragiri Hilir district of Riau Province last week (23/3/2009), village head of Teluk Kabung, Fachrudin, told that logging operation in the area had escalated human-tiger conflict recently.

He said that the latest human-tiger conflict occurred in his village, Teluk Kabung, in February when two farmers from the adjacent village, Simpang Gaung, were attacked by a Sumatran tiger. The farmers were hospitalized and the tiger was killed by villagers then.

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Fachrudin linked the conflict with logging operation by PT Bina Duta Laksana, a pulp plantation company associated to Asia Pulp & Paper (APP), as the latest incidents occurred near the concession.

He said that forest cleared by the company and its sister companies for pulp plantation inside Sumatran tiger habitat therefore he urged the company should be responsible for escalating human-tiger conflicts recently Eyes on the Forest analyzed that the incidents of tiger attack against the farmers as well as the killing of the tiger by villagers occurred inside concession of PT Mutiara Sabuk Khatulistiwa, another APP-associated company in Kerumutan block.

PT BDL, PT Mutiara Sabuk Khatulistiwa and PT Bina Keluarga are APP-associated companies that located in near location of the latest human-tiger conflicts in the peat forest block killing one tiger and injured several persons.

Fachrudin said there were six persons whom attacked by the tigers in his area despite media reports said only two. He then showed EoF two brothers, Thamrin and Suparmi, who were attacked by tiger on 7 March and got wounded in leg and head.

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The villagers fear now the tigers would come to the village and attack people, said the village head.
“We villagers believe that the area logged and planted by the company might bring about threats to us as tigers now wander to our village,” he told Eyes on the Forest after the meeting.  At the meeting with the district’s forestry and law enforcers, the village head urged the agencies to investigate PT Bina Duta Laksana which cleared forest that the company had promised to villagers as conservation area.

They [PT BDL and PT Arara Abadi] only scared us for not logging, but they eventually do so,” he told the audience. Herdi of Simpang Gaung’s village council urged the government to solve problems of escalating human-tiger in Gaung sub-district that caused by logging operation of the pulp plantation companies.

Edi Susanto of Riau’s Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BBKSDA) regional I said that he would remind PT BDL to set aside some area of its concession for conservation and should be responsible to prevent human-tiger conflict.

Earlier in Jambi, head of the Provincial Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BBKSDA), Didi Wurjanto, told that logging road construction that built by Asia Pulp & Paper’s associated company, PT Wira Karya Sakti (WKS), in selective logging concessions (HPH) has driven rampant illegal logging practices which eventually incited more human-tiger conflicts.

Kompas daily reported last month (11/3/2009) that BBKSDA team had spotted illegal logging practices inside production forest of HPH concessions belonging to PT Rimba Karya Indah (RKI) and PT Putra Duta which believed as habitat of Sumatran tigers.

“This [logging] road expansion helps transport timbers from illegal logging [practice],” Didy Wurjanto said as quoted as saying by Kompas daily.

At least eight people –who are all illegal loggers- got killed by Sumatran tigers in separate conflicts in Jambi within January and February 2009.