Sustainable use for conservation has been a focus of two recent articles at BBC News. Eugune Lapointe put the argument for commercial trade in ivory in a piece entitled ‘Hunting for Conservation Solutions’ and a second piece by Eli Leadbeater entitled ‘Hunting has Conservation Role’ had a similar message ending with comment that, “In the future, the fate of many animals may well depend on the extent to which the public around the world starts to accept the idea of utilising wildlife in a sustainable way.”
The argument makes sense for African elephants, where well managed herds in places like South Africa need to be periodically culled. But I have trouble extending the argument to include, for example, tigers.
Sumatran Tiger in the wild, photograph from Richard Ness.*
The Asian tiger appears to be in trouble with skins and body parts in demand in China. Mihir Srivastava explains that most of this demand is being met from India in a recent piece at On Line Opinion entitled ‘Indian Tiger Falls Prey to Chinese Aggression’.
There are apparently only 4-500 tigers remaining in Sumatra, in Indonesia. According to Wild Tiger, a website dedicated to the survival of Sumatra’s tigers, forest clearing for new large-scale oil-palm plantations is a real threat to this subspecies of tiger. Is demand for biodiesel in Europe fueling the demand for palm oil?
Thanks to David@Tokyo for alerting me to the two BBC articles.
* Note from Richard Ness: “The picture was taken by a camera trap. All you do is set a digital camera along the trail and it takes a picture of any animal or human that walks by. We had requested the tiger foundation to assist in base line studies on wild life in an area in Sumatra. This photo was taken by a camera trap set by Dr. Neil Franklin from the Tiger Foundation. We had a separate group for Orangutans. We did find is a very unique area where the Aceh bio diversity overlapped with the North/Central Sumatra bio diversity. Ended up working with US AID and conservation international to try and have it protected. This work is still on going. What I also learned is that tigers are very interesting. I am not sure the cutting of primary forest for logging or plantations is a real issue for them. They may do just as well in secondary growth. The main problem is humans hunting them for parts… same goes for orangutans.”