Farmer dies attacked by tiger inside APP's pulpwood concession

EoF News / 23 September 2010

PEKANBARU (EoF News)— A palm oil farmer was found dead after being attacked by a Sumatran tiger (Panthera tigris sumatrae) on Monday evening (20/9/2010) inside concession of PT Sakato Pratama Makmur, a pulpwood supplier of Sinar Mas’ Asia Pulp & Paper (APP), in buffer zone of UNESCO Man & Biosphere of Giam Siak Kecil in Riau province, Sumatra.

According to information that obtained by EoF, the incident occurred in the daytime on Monday and people found him dead on 11.00 p.m but the locals eventually evacuate the victim’s body in the early morning in the next day. 

The human – tiger conflict occurred administratively in Desa Tanjung Leban, Bukit Batu sub-district of Bengkalis. The farmer, Sugianto, 35, was attacked brutally by the tiger. Police said that the parts of neck and chest of the farmer were eaten up by the critically endangered subspecies.

''When he was found dead, there are no residents dare to get closer to the farmer’s body as the tiger stood by after killing the farmer working on his palm oil plantation at that time,” said chief of Bukit Batu police office, Banjar Nahor, Riauterkini website reported Wednesday (22/9/10).

EoF source told that the locals have planted palm oil since 2002 in the area despite EoF’s GIS Unit analysis confirmed that the location sits inside the concession of PT Sakato Pratama Makmur (see two maps below).

*Crash Image*

The maps showed that Sinar Mas/APP dominated pulpwood concessions in Giam Siak Kecil and Bukit Batu peat forest block, the area that badly raged by fires in several years ago. 

*Crash Image*

It is the second bloody human-tiger encounter within last two months as in August a young rubber farmer was attacked to death by a Sumatran tiger in Senepis peat forest block, just 1.8 km away off PT Ruas Utama Jaya, another APP/Sinar Mas pulpwood supplier. 

Following the latest incident, the dead toll due to human-tiger conflict this year alone reaches two within five conflicts. 

Osmantri Abeng, coordinator of Tiger Patrol Unit of WWF Indonesia’s Riau Program, admitted that the tiger habitat in Riau province has been shrinking due to continued massive deforestation by industry. In addition, the prey for the endangered subspecies is also decreasing which bring about more conflicts recently.

He urged the pulpwood plantation companies whose concessions inside Sumatran tiger habitats to be more responsible to prevent any human-tiger conflict and assess high conservation values to protect the habitat from any clearcutting operation.

In 2009, UNESCO finally endorsed a Biosphere Reserve surrounding Sinar Mas/APP’s concessions in Riau’s GSK peatland forest block. However, EoF’s July 2010 Investigative Report revealed that two SMG/APP affiliated companies continued to clear even the last remaining blocks of natural forest inside the reserve’s Buffer Zone and Transition Area based on 2009 licenses, even after UNESCO endorsed the reserve.

EoF learned that from data compiled by WWF Indonesia, University of Riau and PKHS from 1997 to 2010 there are at least 57 people and 16 Sumatran tigers died due to bloody encounter

Conflict in Senepis block

Conflict in Kerumutan block