updated 1/16/2007 10:45:48 PM ET 2007-01-17T03:45:48

Coffee grown illegally in an Indonesian park that protects tigers, elephants and rhinos is being mixed with legally grown beans and sold in the United States and elsewhere, the World Wildlife Fund reported Tuesday.

The wildlife conservation group said it tracked the cultivation of coffee inside Indonesia’s Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park, and followed the trail to multinational coffee companies and onto grocery shelves in the United States, Europe and Asia.

Bukit Barisan Selatan, a remote site on Sumatra island, is one of the rare protected areas where Sumatran tigers, elephants and rhinos co-exist, the group said in a statement. The park has lost nearly 30 percent of its forest cover to illegal agriculture, mostly for coffee farming.

“No consumer wants their morning cup of coffee to contribute to the demise of endangered tigers,” said Carter Roberts, the fund’s U.S. president. “The findings in this report illustrate the challenge of ensuring that global trade respects environmental concerns.”

Indonesia is the world’s second-largest exporter of robusta beans, which are often used in instant and packaged coffee sold in supermarkets. At least half the country’s coffee is exported through the port of Lampung, adjacent to the national park, the wildlife report said.

Illegally grown coffee is exported to at least 52 countries, but most of the companies buying the coffee were probably unaware of its illegal origins, the report found.  

Copyright 2012 Thomson Reuters. Click for restrictions.


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