Workers mauled by tiger in APP supplier concession

EoF News / 17 September 2011

PEKANBARU (EoF News)—Following the death of an exhausted Sumatran tiger in a concession of Asia Pulp & Paper affiliated company in Pelalawan District, Riau, in August, fresh human-tiger conflict broke out in another concession of the group recently.

At least, a worker died after being hospitalized and other six were wounded due to separate incidents in the concession located in Kerumutan forest block. A few of local media outlets reported this incident but either APP or its timber supplier were not available to comment.

Environmentalists fear that company and “expert” it hires will capture the tigers and lead to misery as a tiger died after being captured in the cage and ready to evacuate in October last year. 

Environmentalist groups criticized ignorance by PT Arara Abadi, the APP timber supplier, last month when the juvenile Sumatran tiger was trapped for days by snare installed by a resident. PT Arara Abadi, the concession where the tiger found, did not help government agencies and NGO rescued the trapped tiger at that time.

Hariansyah Usman of Walhi Riau (Friends of Earth Indonesia) said environmentalists should be concerned over bloody conflicts caused by deforestation in pulp and paper plantations which showed an urgency to stop natural forest clearance including for plantation conversion.

“It is unbelievable we heard that the Government did not stop any forest clearance by HTI [pulpwood plantations] companies in Riau due to new logging licenses are still granted for them. And more conflicts between wildlife against people as well as companies against residents are getting enormous and inevitable right now,” Hariansyah told EoF News.

Meanwhile, Muslim, Coordinator of Jikalahari, NGO Network to Rescue Natural Forest, said that genuine logging moratorium that initiated by the Government had been hijacked by the industry lobby, so the forest conversion still happens in Sumatra.

One casualty

Media reports said that early incident occurred one week before Idul Fitri holidays, around 23-24 August, as four workers of company were attacked by a tiger causing them seriously injured.

Village Head of Teluk Kabung, Fakhruddin, said that the worker who are locals were mauled when they rest in their camp in the evening. But their condition gets recovery now, the official said as quoted by Riau Terkini website (9 Sep).

The website said that tigers attacked other two workers of PT MSK, one of them is foreman. One died in hospital, said Fakhruddin, but he had no information on the identity of casualty.

On Thursday (8 Sep), another worker was attacked by tiger as he removed out woods in the canal, Riau Terkini reported. The company did not give any statement on the incidents reported by media. There is still uncertainty of number of tigers involved in this conflict.

“It’s a consequence that the tiger got angry, can we feel if our homes are destroyed by others, absolutely we will be mad,” said Fahruddin, Teluk Kabung village head, as quoted by Riau Terkini as saying. He said as long as the forest is cleared by the companies, the Sumatran tigers will attack the people.

Meanwhile, Riau Pos daily reported that the tigers attacked the workers due to the laborers consumed tiger cub as it strayed to the concession.

Conflicts in APP group’s concessions

Human-tiger conflict in Kerumutan forest had occurred in February 2009 in PT Bina Duta Laksana concession, APP timber supplier that adjacent to PT MSK. Two were hospitalized due to the incident.

In September 2010, a Sumatran tiger, which believed attacking a palm oil farmer to death, eventualy died, only four hours after being caught by villagers that supervised by YPHS (Yayasan Pelestarian Harimau Sumatra, Sumatran tiger conservation foundation), that collaborated with APP/Sinar Mas group.

The dead tiger was believed mauling Sugianto, 35, a palm oil farmer in Tanjung Leban village inside a pulpwood concession of PT Sakato Pratama Makmur, an affiliated company to APP. 

The location of incident also sits inside buffer zone of UNESCO Man and Biosphere Reserve of Giam Siak Kecil – Bukit Batu that declared in 2009. The tiger found dead in dusun Air Bukit Sembilan of Tanjung Leban village on 11 p.m. on 30 September.

In August a young rubber farmer was attacked to death by a Sumatran tiger in Senepis peat forest block, just 1.8 km off PT Ruas Utama Jaya concession, another APP/Sinar Mas pulpwood supplier.

Osmantri Abeng of WWF’s Tiger Patrol Unit said that APP and Sinar Mas should protect Sumatran tigers from any excessive treatments and avoid more tiger deaths in their management areas.

“Ongoing forest clearance drives more conflicts, therefore logging moratorium in remaining natural forest and peatland are inevitable,” Abeng said.

In July, Gurindam12 website reported that a worker of APRIL’s PT RAPP in Kampar Peninsula was mauled to death by a Sumatran tiger, while other two workers hospitalized. There is no any comment from PT RAPP or APRIL responding this report.

Related news:

Riau Terkini article in Bahasa

EoF News on previous Kerumutan incident