Page last updated at 15:43 GMT, Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Tiger attacks trigger expert plea

A wild Sumatran tiger caught by park rangers in Jambi province, Indonesia, on 11 February 2009
WWF says loss of habitat is putting tigers and humans into conflict

Conservationists have urged Indonesia to halt illegal deforestation in Sumatra, after six people were killed by tigers in less than a month.

International group WWF said human encroachment into the habitat of endangered Sumatran tigers had caused a crisis situation.

It said clearance - for logging or palm oil - had led to the loss of almost half of Sumatra's forests in 20 years.

This had put humans and tigers in conflict, WWF said.

Tigers killed three illegal loggers over the weekend in the central Sumatran province of Jambi, government officials said.

Three people were also killed in late January in the same province.

Three young tigers were also recently killed by villagers in neighbouring Riau province, WWF said.

"As people encroach into tiger habitat, it's creating a crisis situation and further threatening this critically endangered sub-species," said Ian Kosasih, director of WWF's Forest Program.

"In light of these killings, officials have got to make public safety a top concern and put a stop to illegal clearance of forests in Sumatra."

There are estimated to be fewer than 400 Sumatran tigers left in the wild.

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