Indonesia: Lost habitats push Sumatran tiger out of forests

Jon Afrizal The Jakarta Post 28 Mar 18;

The shrinking habitat of the critically endangered Sumatran tiger has pushed the black-striped carnivore out of its living areas, leading to increased human-tiger conflicts, an activist has said.

The habitat centers of the Sumatran tiger on the island shrank to 23 pockets in 2016 from the previous 29 recorded in 2010, tiger conservation project manager at the Indonesian office of the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), Yoan Dinata said.

“The tiger population now faces bigger threats such as the declining area for them to live in and massive poaching,” he said in Jambi on Wednesday.

There are four Sumatran tiger habitats in Jambi, they are Kerinci Seblat, Bukit Tigapuluh, Berbak-Sembilang and Harapan Forest.

Their habitats have been disrupted and narrowed due to the massive expansion of palm oil plantations in Sumatra, pushing them to roam outside their habitats.

The latest human-tiger conflict made headlines following the brutal killing of a tiger in North Sumatra earlier this month after residents attacked the big cat believing that it was a siluman (shapeshifter). Residents in a village in Riau province also declared they were hunting a tiger after it had killed two residents this month.

An official estimate from the Environment and Forestry Ministry suggests that the Sumatran tiger population currently stands at no more than 600. Yoan urged all stakeholders to work hand-in-hand to protect the critically endangered animal and maintain its existence in the wild. (rin)