Indonesia eyes pet market for endangered tigers
The Indonesian government has hatched a plan to save Sumatran tigers from extinction by allowing people to adopt captive-born animals as pets for 100,000 dollars a pair, officials said.
The forestry ministry said the plan could be put into practice as early as this year despite reservations from environmentalists, who say the focus should be on protecting habitats for the remaining 200 tigers in the wild.
"We're not selling or renting tigers. We're only authorising people to look after them," forestry ministry conservation chief Darori told AFP.
"These people will have to follow certain conditions. The tigers will still belong to the government."
He said interested owners would have to "deposit" a billion rupiah (108,000 dollars) for a pair of tigers, which he called a "guarantee towards conservation".
The minimum area required to keep a pair would be around 60 square metres (646 square feet), although something the size of three football fields would be better, ministry officials said.
The animals' health would be monitored by government experts and mistreatment would be punished by fines or jail terms.
"Let's think of the tigers' new homes as mini-zoos," Darori said.
Another ministry official, Didi Wuryanto, dismissed fears the scheme could put a price on the heads of the few remaining wild tigers, which are nearing extinction due to habitat loss on their native Sumatra island.
Much of the jungle which the tigers call home has been destroyed by rampant illegal logging overseen by the forestry ministry, forcing the animals into lethal competition with villagers.
"The chances of people
Read Full Story