Sumatran tiger population in Seblat park down to 136

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Sumatran tiger population in Seblat park down to 136
03/28/08 07:27

Muko Muko, Bengkulu (ANTARA News) – The population of the Sumatran Tiger (Phantera Tigris Sumaterae) in the Kerinci Seblat National Park (TNKS) has continued to decline, a foreign nature conservation worker said.

The tiger population in the park now was only 136, down from 150 spotted in 2007, coordinator for Sumatra of Flora Fauna International (FFI), Debby Martin, said in a report on the results of her research here Thursday.

Hunting and land clearing had become the main threat to the rare animal`s population, she said.

The research was conducted by FFI in coordination with the TNKS administration and some universities in a Sumatran Tigers` Monitoring (MHS) project.

The research had also shown that conflicts between humans and tigers which ended in the tigers` death had also reduced the population of the endemic species.

“Based on our last research, the current tiger population is not more than 136 or some 25 percent of the total number of existing Sumatran tigers. Land clearing and conflicts will become the main threat after hunting has been stopped,” she said.

Debby said land clearing for plantations had recently triggered conflicts between tigers and local residents.

Land clearing activity had narrowed the territory where the tigers usually hunt for prey and forced them to encroach on farmers` lands.

“Recently in South Lebong, Lebong District, a tiger was seen in a farmer`s rubber plantation. We tried to make sure that both the tiger and the farmer remained safe,” the British researcher said in fluent Bahasa Indonesia.

According to Debby, her team had helped to settle more than 20 conflicts between tigers and humans in the region.

Usually, she said, a tiger appears in a village to prey on livestock.

An FFI official, Agung Nugraha, said the FFI had monitored Sumatran tigers` movements in four provinces within the national park, namely Jambi, West Sumatra, Bengkulu and South Sumatra.

Since 2004, the monitoring team had installed tracking cameras in 88 sample areas.

Based on the survey, 90 percent of Sumatran tigers` activity was taking place inside TNKS conservation forests.

“Currently we are focusing on four locations in the southern coast of West Sumatra to Musi Rawas, Lubuk Linggau,” he said.

Taking part in the research were students from Dice University of Kent, UK as well as local students and institutions.

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