Shop the Frog to Save Sumatran Tigers
When you are buying coffee, take a moment and Shop the Frog. Look for the Rainforest Alliance Certified logo on the coffee you buy. Just today, when we were shopping I was so happy to see that Kroger’s Private Selection coffee is Rainforest Alliance Certified. This is the coffee that we will keep buying now.
Little things we do can make a big difference in saving wild tigers. Here is why buying Rainforest Alliance Certified coffee makes a difference.
How Buying Sustainable Coffee Helps Save Tigers
There are fewer than 400 Sumatran tigers surviving in the wild. These last remaining tigers find refuge in Indonesia’s Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park, a World Heritage Site on the southern tip of Sumatra Island. But the critically endangered tiger’s habitat is disappearing. Illegal squatters have converted nearly 20 percent of the 900,000-acre park to farmland for the cultivation of coffee, pepper and other crops.
Despite government efforts to evict families who have built semi-permanent homes within the park, the influx of post tsunami immigrants from northern Sumatra continues, endangering not only the Sumatran tiger but also the Sumatran rhino and the Sumatran elephant. The increasingly fragmented habitat has increased human-wildlife conflicts and opportunities for poachers.
People and Tigers Need to Survive Together
Without proper enforcement, humans will continue to destroy animal habitat. But the people living in this area need an incentive to conserve. The people need to survive too. The World Wildlife Fund’s 2007 investigation found that farmers were growing coffee on more than 112,000 acres of park land. So the Rainforest Alliance has been helping to support coffee farmers and traders as well as local organizations through the promotion of sustainable coffee products. Sustainably grown beans are better for the environment and also bring a higher price for the farmer.
Rainforest Alliance Certified
To qualify for Rainforest Alliance certification, the farmers are learning to make compost naturally and to inter-plant their coffee with other plants including ginger, elephant grass and fruit trees, which can help to slow down erosion. They are also eliminating their use of certain herbicides such as paraquat, while reducing their use of agrochemicals overall.
The Rainforest Alliance is not directly working to stop encroachment of coffee farmers into the park but is working to make sure that coffee farmers and traders on the park border comply with the Rainforest Alliance Certified guidelines. Farmers in the certification program are increasing their coffee yields and getting a better price for their coffee.
The Rainforest Alliance Certification program gives squatters the incentive to move outside the park boundaries where deforested land is available. This is a win-win because the farmers benefit economically and the park’s biodiversity is maintained helping to save Sumatran tigers.