Sunday, July 21, 2013


     Jakarta, July  21, 2013 (Antara)  - Indonesian people usually spend more on food and clothing during 
Islamic fasting month of Ramadan and Idul Fitri festivities than in the other months, prompting some people 
to make more money by any means, including by poaching Sumatran tigers.
         "Poaching activities of animals such as deers and even Sumatra tigers in Sumatra tend to increase
during the fasting month," Moehd Subchan, the coordinator of The Sumatra Tiger Preservation 
Program (PHS) for Jambi Province, said in Jambi, last June 2013.

         The increasing poaching activities have been driven by the economic factor because during Ramadan the demands for meat and other goods are quite high, he said.
         To deal with the poaching activities, which usually use traps to get endangered Sumatra tigers, the Sumatra Tiger Preservation program team has routinely organized Operation "Trap Sweep" prior and during the fasting month since 2000.
         This year, the Operation "Trap Sweep" is being carried out from June to July in Sumatra, by the PHS in cooperation with the Kerinci Seblat National Park (TNKS) office, the forestry ministry and the International Flora and Fauna foundation.
         Six patrol units consisting of three units in Jambi and the other threes in Bengkulu, have been deployed during the operation which focuses on forest patrol, Sumatra tiger conflict handling, and investigation concerning animal-related crimes.
         In June alone, the team managed to find 16 traps intended to capture Sumatran tigers (Panthera tigris sumatrae) in the TNKS which is a home of around 145 to 165 tigers.   
    Up to July 11, 2013, 30 traps were found by the team in three different locations in the Kerinci Seblat National Park, including 13 in Kerinci (Jambi), three in Muko-muko (Bengkulu), and 16 units in Pesisir Selatan of West Sumatra.
         During last year's Operation "Trap Sweep", the PHS team found around 100 traps intended to capture Sumatran tigers.
    "This indicates demand has increased for the animal organs from black market in the country or from abroad," Dian Risdianto, the field manager of the TNKS patrol unit, said in Jambi on July 12, 2013.
         Dian said the type of traps used are specially for tigers corroborating suspicion that the perpetrators have received special orders for tiger organs.
         The type of traps is stronger and much more expensive than the types used by ordinary hunters of other wildlife like boars, deers, monkeys or birds, he said, adding "Those kinds of traps we have found this year are all for tigers".
         The authorities suspected the perpetrators planned to sell certain organs of the wildlife in black market in the country  and abroad, he stated.  
    He said cases of illegal trapping of Sumatra tigers has tended to increase ahead and during Ramadan every year indicating trading of tiger organs is more rampant during that period.
         The officer hoped the annual Operation "Trap Sweep" to help slow down the process of extinction of the endangered tigers.
         "Tigers live individually or not in a group like lions and so they need a vast forest to survive, while the TNKS is already Shrinking," he said.
         He called on the managers of National Parks in Sumatra to carry out regular patrol against illegal trapping or trade of wildlife.
         "We have recommended to all managers of national parks and forestry offices in Sumatra to launch regular patrol to preserve the country's wildlife especially Sumatran  tigers," he said.
         He warned that the population of the famous Sumatran tiger has continued to decline and would face extinction, therefore the government must seriously address the problem.
         "We also call on the central government  especially the forestry ministry to act more firmly by immediately imposing regulation based on the law on conversion of the environment and ecosystem to protect  wildlife," he said.
         Sumatran tigers, the smallest of all tigers,  are a critically endangered species only found on Sumatra Island, Indonesia's second largest island.
         The exact number of tigers left in the wild is uncertain but latest estimates range from under 300 to possibly 500 in 27 locations, including in the Kerinci Seblat National Park, the Tesso Nilo Park, and the Gunung Leuser National Park.
         Sumatran tigers are on the brink of extinction because of deforestation, poaching and clashes with people.
         According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), their numbers have dwindled from about 1,000 in the 1970s. The biggest threat to conservation is conflict with humans, according to the 2009 report by the forestry ministry. On average, five to 10 Sumatran tigers have been killed every year since 1998, the report said.
         A study published in the journal Oryx recently reported that the critically endangered Sumatran tiger may be even rarer than previously thought.
         According to researchers from Virginia Tech and WWF, the number of existing Sumatran tigers is much lower than the current estimate. Their study showed that a high level of human activity in this region has led to a decline in the tiger population.
         Researchers from Virginia Tech and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) used camera traps to estimate population density in previously unsurveyed areas, including peatlands.
         They found that tiger density may be only half what was estimated previously. In some areas, tiger density may be as low as one tiger per 40 square miles. The study found that human activity seems to limit tigers.
         "We believe the low detection of tigers in the study area of central Sumatra was a result of the high level of human activity - farming,  hunting, trapping, and gathering of forest products," said study lead author Sunarto of World Wildlife Fund-Indonesia.
         Getting evidence of the tigers' presence was difficult and it took an average of 590 days for camera traps to get an image of each individual tiger recorded, according to Kelly, one of the researchers, as reported on Science Daily online.
         Indonesia have already lost two sub-species of tigers to extinction, namely the Bali tiger which went extinct in 1937 and the Javan tiger in the 1970s.
         Recently, there was an very interesting story, not about men trapped tigers, but on the other way around. Apparently in revenge to what men have done to them, to be exactly to their cub, several Sumatra tigers trapped five men up a tree in Gunung Leuser national park on northern Sumatra Island, after mauling a sixth person to death.
         The men had gone to the jungle to gather rare agarwood in Mount Leuser National Park, for incense and perfume, when one of their traps, set to catch deer for their dinner, caught a tiger cub instead.
         The injured kitten apparently attracted adult tigers the way a fallen toddler attracts moms at a playground. The adult tigers chased the unintentional trappers up trees. One of the six men reportedly fell out of his tree and was, tragically, mauled to death.
         The survivors alerted nearby villagers using mobile phones. It could take rescue crews up to three days before they find the men in the Gunung Leuser jungle.
         Villagers had tried to rescue the men few days later but retreated when they saw seven large Sumatran tigers circling around the base of the tree.
         On July 8, 2013, the five men were finally saved by a team of rescue workers, police, and trained animal handlers, after being trapped on the tree for five days. ***4***

(T.F001/A/F. Assegaf/Bustanuddin) 22-07-2013 02:03:54

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