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From the Associated Press


Wwf: Sumatran Tiger Faces Extinction

Friday June 7, 2002 8:10 PM

JAKARTA (AP) - Illegal logging and poaching could wipe out the Sumatran tiger in the next 10 years, the World Wide Fund for Nature warned Friday.

At least 66 tigers have been killed on Sumatra since 1999, most by hunters, said the international environmental group. Between 400 and 500 remain on the island, which stretches 1,000 miles down the western side of the Indonesian archipelago.

``If nothing is done, the Sumatran tiger will become extinct in the next 10 years,'' said Chairul Saleh, a WWF official heading a campaign against the trade in endangered species in Indonesia.

``The Sumatran tiger is the last tiger we have got,'' he said by phone from Bali, where he is attending an environmental conference. ``Indonesia already lost the Bali tiger and Javan tiger. We have to save the Sumatran tiger.''

The biggest threat to the tigers are poachers. Local people use tiger bones and whiskers for a range of medicines, and turn the claws into jewelry. A tiger skin can go for $800, while a mounted tiger can fetch several thousand dollars, said Saleh.

The tiger also is losing its habitat due to illegal logging in national parks, including Bukit Tigapuluh National Park, the largest protected lowland forest in Sumatra and one of the tiger's few remaining habitats.

WWF-funded rangers now patrol the Bukit Tigapuluh park for poachers, he said.

Saleh urged the government to stop issuing licenses for logging in the park, and suggested shutting down nearby sawmills.

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