Target: President of Indonesia, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono
Goal: Don’t allow wealthy Indonesian citizens to rent Sumatran tigers as a means of tiger conservation
The critically endangered Sumatran tiger, once prevalent throughout the forests of Indonesia, now maintains a population of only about 400 individuals in the wild. The Sumatran tiger has faced severe loss of habitat as the country has continued to develop land for agriculture and industry. Deforestation, farming and logging, as well as unchecked poaching, have driven these tigers to the brink of extinction. The Indonesian government has proposed a new plan to help combat the severe loss of Sumatran tigers that would allow wealthy citizens to rent tigers as pets for the cost of one billion rupiah, or about 107,000 US dollars.
The Indonesian government has provided certain stipulations to those who wish to rent tigers. Renters must allow government officials to monitor the welfare of the animals regularly and must provide enclosures that meet certain requirements regarding size. Furthermore, the rental fee will allegedly go toward conservation programs to further help protect Sumatran tigers.
Although the proposal is surely well intentioned, it is inherently flawed. According to Bustar Maitar of Greenpeace, the tiger rental plan “shows the [Indonesian] government is not serious about addressing the real issues threatening Sumatran tigers,” such as rampant deforestation. Furthermore, other environmentalists have raised serious concerns over the way in which rental tigers will be treated. Indonesia’s Director General for Forest Protection and Nature Conservation stated, “there are many orders from rich people who want them, who feel if they own a tiger they are a big shot.” Many are concerned that people who wish to rent tigers as a status symbol will be more likely to ignore government regulations.
Rather than implement a problematic tiger rental program, the Indonesian government must work to address the real issues behind the dwindling tiger population, such as the clearing of land for agriculture, industry and exportation. Urge the government of Indonesia to stop its tiger rental plan and instead focus on truly protecting the Sumatran tigers’ remaining habitat.
Dear President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono,
The Sumatran tiger has become a critically endangered species due primarily to loss of habitat through deforestation in Indonesia. These once-widespread animals now face severe threats to survival because of Indonesia’s continual industrial and agricultural development.
The government of Indonesia has seen a need to protect these magnificent animals, but instead of focusing conservation efforts on the real issue of habitat loss, it has instead decided to begin an inherently flawed and problematic tiger rental program.
Allowing wealthy Indonesians to rent tigers as a means of conservation raises many issues and concerns, including the well-being of individual tigers, as well as the serious issue of the government ignoring the true reasons behind the Sumatran tiger’s dwindling population. Rather than focus on preserving habitat and slowing deforestation, the government has instead chosen to simply rent tigers to wealthy individuals, revealing a careless attitude about tiger conservation.
I strongly urge you to stop the Sumatran tiger rental plan and instead place all importance on conserving the natural habitat of these tigers. In this way, you will ensure the long-term survival of Sumatran tigers.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Keven Law via Wikimedia Commons