Indonesia: Sumatran tigers need more sanctuaries - Government

Apriadi Gunawan and Jon Afrizal The Jakarta Post 25 Nov 16;

The number of existing animal sanctuaries in Indonesia is insufficient to meet the needs of the many endangered wildlife species in the archipelago, especially those on the verge of extinction, an official has warned.

There are currently 11 animal sanctuaries in Indonesia but the country needs at least 50 such facilities, according to Environment and Forestry Ministry secretary general Bambang Hendroyono.

“We aim to build new animal sanctuaries in the next three years,” he said during the inauguration of a Sumatran tiger sanctuary in Batu Nanggar village, North Padang Lawas regency, North Sumatra, on Wednesday.

Among the most endangered animals are Sumatran tigers, elephants, orangutans and rhinoceri, he said.

The population of Sumatran tigers, which are on the brink of extinction, has continued to decline over the years, as a result of rampant poaching and deforestation that has destroyed much of their natural habitat, he added.

Bambang said the remaining Sumatran tiger population in its natural habitat in Sumatra amounted to between 400 and 600, Around 100 tigers are in conservation facilities such as zoos and safari parks.

Forest conversion has also led to prolonged human-tiger conflicts.

North Sumatra Natural Resources Conservation Center (BKSDA) Technical Affairs head Garendel Siboro said the new sanctuary spanned 40 hectares, covering areas for adaptation and habitation.

Garendel said the tiger refuge would mainly function as a rehabilitation center for injured tigers.

“Wounded tigers are taken to the sanctuary to undergo rehabilitation until the animals are fully recovered and ready to be released back into the wild,” he told The Jakarta Post.

He said the Sumatran tiger sanctuary was currently rehabilitating a tiger that had a leg amputated as a result of a severe infection after being caught in a trap. The condition of the 4.5-year-old female tiger has reportedly improved.

In Jambi, the number of wild tigers has also decreased because of poaching. According to Miskun, an official with the Kerinci Seblat National Park, there are only around 165 tigers left in the park. “We continue to find traps in the area. In many cases, tigers are also poisoned or shot,” he said.