Indonesia: Footage of Sumatran tiger family in Riau raises conservation hopes

Gemma Holliani Cahya The Jakarta Post 2 Aug 18;

Video footage capturing the lives of a family of Sumatran tigers in a forest in Riau has sparked hope of a better future in the country for the species.

The footage was released by the Riau Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA) and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) to commemorate International Tigers Day on Monday.

It shows how the tiger, named Rima, has given birth twice ̵ to three cubs in 2015 and to four in 2017. Rima lives in a forest in Riau with Uma, her male partner, and their seven offspring.

Parts of the video show the mother tiger and her four new cubs pass a trap camera in the forest. The cubs look healthy and curious about their surroundings as they follow their mother through the forest.

Tigers Alive Initiative head Michael Baltzer was quoted on the WWF website on Monday as saying the footage proved that tigers “could proliferate like cats” if they had a protected habitat, enough food and were not hunted.

Sumatran tigers have been listed as critically endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List since 2008.

Accelerated deforestation in Sumatra, poaching and the rampant illegal trade have significantly decreased the number of Sumatran tigers across the island.

In 1978, experts estimated the population of Sumatran tigers at 1,000. Today, the Environment and Forestry Ministry estimates that the Sumatran tiger population currently stands at no more than 600.

The Riau BKSDA head said the rare footage was good news as the government was aiming to increase the country’s tiger population by 10 percent.

“It proves that Sumatran tigers can thrive in Sumatra. This shows a strong commitment by the government to save the tiger and its habitat,” he said. (ahw)

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