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Planet Ark World Environment News Indonesia Seeks Plan to Save Rare Tigers, Elephants

Date: 30-Aug-07
Country: INDONESIA

JAKARTA - More than 100 experts and
officials met in Indonesia on Wednesday to try to draft an
action plan to save Sumatran elephants and tigers threatened
with extinction.

Satellite images show large areas of lowland tropical
forests, the primary habitat for elephants and tigers, have
been cleared on Sumatra island mainly due to farming and
logging, the WWF conservation group said.

Between 1990 and 2000, a total of 8 million hectares (20
million acres) of lowland forests have been lost to
development, the group said.

Shrinking habitats have led to conflicts with humans,
resulting in the deaths of 42 people and 100 elephants between
2002 and 2007, said the group.

"Immediate action is needed to save threatened tigers and
elephants and increasing conflicts between people and the
animals," WWF Indonesia spokeswoman Desmarita Murni said.

The three-day meeting in the Sumatran city of Padang,
attended by about 120 local and international delegates, is
aimed at developing a conservation strategy and action plan to
save the species, said Murni.

Officials from various government ministries were
attending, as well as representatives from companies and
communities affected by human-wildlife conflicts, she said.

WWF said Sumatran elephants in Indonesia had declined
approximately 35 percent over the past 15 years, from
2,800-5,000 in 1992 to 2,400-2,800 animals in 2007.

Today, there are no more than 400 Sumatran tigers left in
the wild, while Indonesia's Bali and Javan tigers are already
extinct, it said.

"Saving the populations of Sumatran tigers and elephants
will strongly depend on saving their remaining forest habitat,"
said Elisabet Purastuti, coordinator of elephant conservation
for WWF-Indonesia.

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