Just weeks after images of one of the world’s last remaining Sumatran tigers dying in a trap set in an Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) plantation were broadcast to the world, APP shamelessly attempted to recast its image as a conservation hero. CBS news has aired video footage of an elaborate public relations stunt orchestrated by the logging giant that shows a Sumatran tiger, previously captured in another pulpwood plantation, being released back into the wild.
APP managed to get its corporate logo in almost every shot as the majestic animal was drugged, caged, transported, radio collared and released to great media fanfare. Indonesia’s powerful Forestry Minister pulled the chain to lift the cage door himself. The company blames the Sumatran tiger’s critically endangered status on illegal poachers. They named their captive PR prop “Putri,” Indonesian for Princess.
Nice try APP, but any scientist (not on the company’s payroll) will confirm that the real reason behind the tiger’s decline to the precipice of extinction is the clearing and conversion of its rainforest habitat, primarily by pulp and paper companies, led by APP.
Thankfully, CBS news includes substantial quotes and counter-spin provided by Greenpeace instead of just repeating the companies bold attempt at greenwashing its image. Still, this incident reflects the increasingly large investment APP is pouring into sophisticated PR firms who use slick language about ‘sustainability’ and stunts like this to obfuscate and distract from the company’s shameful environmental record.
Shame on you APP. If more of the crucial habitat that tigers need were left intact, they would not be forced into the biologically impoverished pulpwood plantations in search of food in the first place.