Biosphere Reserve in Riau, Potential New Home for Six Wild Tigers
JAKARTA, 2011, January 30 – With the support the of Asia Pulp & Paper, Sumatran Tiger Preservation Foundation (YPHS) is launching one of its largest operations to date, the relocation of up to six Sumatran Tigers to a vast, protected area where they can flourish. Following a detailed relocation analysis, the tigers will likely be moved to the 178,000-hectareGiam Siak Kecil-Bukit Batu (GSK-BB) Biosphere Reserve in Riau province.
The operation is being fully funded by Asia Pulp & Paper (APP), the leading corporate supporter of YPHS. The initiative is designed to ensure that the Sumatran tiger remains part of the Indonesian landscape.
The tigers in question have been sighted by villagers in Riau province of Sumatra. While tiger-human conflict has existed in Indonesia for thousands of years, the YPHS initiative is designed to protect both villagers and tigers by relocating the tigers to less populous areas that offer conditions where the animals can thrive.
“I hope Giam Siak Kecil will be a suitable home for at least some of the tigers,” said YPHS veteran tiger conservationist Bastoni (Indonesians often use a single name). “The signs are certainly encouraging so far. It will take at least three months for the assessment to be completed. In the meantime, we will work closely with communities in Riau to ensure that human-tiger conflict is avoided.”
The 178,000-hectare GSK-BB Biosphere Reserve in Riau province promises to be an ideal natural habitat for the animals, with an abundance of fresh water and food sources. Approved by the UNESCO Man and the Biosphere project, the reserve has also become one of the last remaining natural habitats for the tigers to be studied by universities, researchers and environmental groups. The Biosphere is supported by APP and its pulpwood suppliers.
For centuries, tiger encroachments into populated areas have largely been stopped by killing or hunting down the animals. Bastoni and YPHS are part of the Tiger Working Group (TWG), which acts as an intermediary when villagers come into conflict with tiger populations. The organization has developed programs to enhance tiger survival, including education and monitoring efforts to combat illegal logging and encroachment, tiger surveillance and research using radio collars and camera traps, and programs to reduce the risk of conflict by posting signs and erecting fences to separate tigers and humans.
APP and its suppliers also support the TWG.
Once the assessments are completed and found the area suitable for tiger habitat, and the tigers have been safely captured, YPHS intends to tag each tiger with a GPS-enabled device that will allow YPHS to track their movements and determine where the tigers live. The GPS enabled devices will help ensure that they can live sustainably in their new habitat.
In 2009, APP and Sinarmas Forestry (SMF) proposed Giam Siak Kecil – Bukit Batu Biosphere Reserve (GSK-BB) in Riau, Indonesia. It is the first biosphere reserve initiated by a private company to be approved by the UNESCO Man and the Biosphere project.
Located in the Bengkalis and Siak Districts of Riau Province, Indonesia, the GSK-BB is described on the UNESCO MAB website as “a peatland area in Sumatra featuring sustainable timber production and two wildlife reserves, which are home to the Sumatran tiger, elephant, tapir, and sun bear.”
The site also has potential to serve as a testing ground for carbon dioxide sequestration in the context of international carbon trade mechanisms. The area is managed jointly by local government, NGOs, industry, the scientific community and environmental experts.
SMF, APP’s exclusive pulpwood supplier, is an active member of the working group currently managing the area and APP has contributed significantly to the development of GSK-BB as a Biosphere Reserve and provided operating and management funds. The GSK-BB area will be used for conservation, research activities and sustainable economic development.
The GSK-BB Biosphere Reserve area consists of:
Yayasan Pelestarian Harimau Sumatera (Sumatran Tiger Conservation Foundation/YPHS) is a national non-profit organization dedicated to protect and conserve the population of the Sumatran Tiger. The vision of YPHS is the sustainable conservation of the Sumatran Tiger and achieving a community that can live peacefully with wildlife for conservation purposes.
YPHS’s main programs are identifying the habitat of the Sumatran Tiger, managing human-tiger conflict, treating and relocating conflict tiger back to its habitat, building community’s awareness of the importance of protecting the Sumatran Tiger and explaining ways and ideas to raise the population of the Sumatran Tiger.
Yayasan Pelestarian Harimau Sumatra (YPHS)
Bastoni, +62-0813 657 111 60