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WWF: Illegal coffee growing risks Sumatra tigers GENEVA (SWITZERLAND) - Illegal coffee bean growing in an Indonesian wildlife park could wipe out already endangered local tigers, elephants and rhinos within 10 years, the WWF conservation group warned on Wednesday. The coffee growers are clearing vegetation in Bukit Barisan Selatan park, a World Heritage Site on the southern tip of Sumatra Island, to make room for the crop which brings much needed export revenue to the impoverished region.

The WWF said over 19,600 tonnes of illegally grown coffee a year was being blended with legally produced beans before being sold to international food and drinks companies. "WWF determined that most of the companies buying the coffee likely were unaware of its illegal origins," the WWF said, adding that it was in discussions with some about how to avoid purchasing illegally grown coffee.

The park is one of the few protected areas where Sumatran tigers, elephants and rhinos coexist, the WWF said. "It is one of the most important habitats left for the three endangered or critically endangered species. But it has already lost nearly 20 percent of its forest cover to illegal agriculture," the WWF said.

"If this trend of illegally clearing park land for coffee isn't halted, the rhinos and tigers will be locally extinct in less than a decade," said Nazir Foead, WWF-Indonesia's Director of Policy and Corporate Engagement. Indonesia is the world's second largest exporter of robusta coffee which is often used in instant coffee and packaged coffee sold in supermarkets, the group said.


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Posted in Environment @ 17 January 2007 07:38 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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