‘Timebomb’: Fires devastate tiger and elephant habitat in Sumatra

  • Another heavy fire season in Indonesia has taken a toll on the country’s remaining forest. In Sembilang National Park, on the island of Sumatra, fires raged into primary forest that provides vital habitat for critically endangered Sumatran tigers and elephants.
  • Satellite data and imagery indicate the fires may have had a big impact on tigers in the park. In total, around 30 percent of tiger habitat in Sembilang burned between August and September. The fires also encroached into the park’s elephant habitat.
  • Fires have also reportedly ravaged elephant habitat in Padang Sugihan Sebokor Wildlife Reserve, which lies southeast of Sembilang and serves as a corridor for wild elephants in South Sumatra. One report estimates that half of the reserve has suffered fire damage.
  • Researchers say slash-and-burn clearing techniques likely started most of fires in the area, which were then exacerbated by drier-than-usual conditions and underground peat stores left unprotected by policy rollbacks.

Mongabay

Last updated on 25 November 2019

Type: 
Media Watch
Threats: 
Habitat loss and degradation
Species group: 
Terrestrial mammals