The last Sumatran tigers

The wild population is estimated at between 400 and 500 animals, which live mainly in the national parks of the island

by Lorenzo Ciotti
SHARE
The last Sumatran tigers

The Sumatran tiger lives only on Sumatra, a large island in western Indonesia. It is found everywhere from lowland to mountain forests, and is also found in many unprotected areas. Only 400 specimens live in reserves and national parks and the rest are widespread in areas that are being lost to agriculture.

The reserves are unsafe, as despite conservation efforts, many tigers are killed by poachers every year. Programs to be carried out include a project to conserve Sumatran tigers and other endangered species in the wild, efforts to reduce conflicts between tigers and humans, and a project to rehabilitate Sumatran tigers for reintroduction into their natural habitat.

In 2007, the Indonesian Ministry of Forests and Safari Park established a cooperation with Australia Zoo for the conservation of Sumatran tigers and other endangered species. The cooperation agreement was signed by the sending of a letter regarding a conservation program for the Sumatran tiger and other endangered species and the establishment of a zoo that has relations with the Taman Safari Park and Australia Zoo to the Indonesian Ministry of Forests office, July 31, 2007.

The last Sumatran tigers

The wild population is estimated at between 400 and 500 animals, which live mainly in the national parks of the island. Some authors believe that the Sumatran tiger is included in the subspecies Panthera tigris scopaica, but this is still a matter of debate.

Recent genetic analyzes have revealed the presence of unique genetic markers, indicating that this animal is evolving into a separate species, if it doesn't go extinct. This has led to suggestions that the Sumatran tiger should be given a higher conservation priority than any other subspecies.

Habitat destruction is the main threat to the existing tiger population, as destruction continues even in supposedly protected national parks, but between 1998 and 2000, 66 tigers were found to have been killed, almost 20% of the total population.

Between 2005 and 2015, about US$210 million have been invested into tiger law-enforcement activities that support forest ranger patrols, as well as the implementations of front-line law-enforcement activities by the Global Tiger Recovery Plan, which aims to double the number of wild tigers by 2020.

In November 2016, Batu Nanggar Sanctuary was opened in North Padang Lawas Regency, North Sumatra for conservation of Sumatran wildlife. An interview survey among 600 consumers revealed that most were willing to pay consistently more for a tiger-friendly produced good if this product would be conducive to Sumatran tiger conservation.