Tag Archives: tigers

Indonesia’s Sumatran tigers face extinction due to illegal hunting

JAKARTA, Nov. 21 (Xinhua) — An official at an Indonesia’s tiger conservancy area said that the population of the Sumatran Tiger (Panthera tigris sumatrae) in the Kerinci Seblat National Park (TNKS) in Indonesia’s Jambi province has been dwindling due to rampant illegal hunting, local media reported on Wednesday.

The population in the park had declined from 300 to 165 in the last decade, TNKS official Dian Rusdianto said.

Dian said that illegal hunting and poaching were still rampant in the area and TNKS officers recently confiscated 120 tiger traps set by hunters around the park.

“The diminishing population isn’t only caused by hunting and poaching, but also forest destruction by corporations which have damaged the park,” she said on Tuesday.

The forest damage does not only pose a threat to the habitat of the Sumatran tiger, but also other animals which the tigers prey on such as deer, tapir and warthog, according to her. The park has been running conservation programs, making routine inspections on tiger traps and protecting the tiger’s habitat, Dian said.

The park also tried to conserve the habitats of other animals living there, she added.

“The ones that need to be protected are animals which the tigers prey on because they can survive in any conditions as long as they have food all the time,” Dian said.

The Sumatran tiger is the last tiger species in Indonesia. Two other tiger species, namely the Bali and Java tigers, have been extinct since the 1950s and 1960s, respectively, the Jakarta Post reported.

Based on the Borner study, which took place in 1978, the Sumatran tiger population was estimated at 1,000 in the 1970s. In 1985, its population dwindled to 800 in 26 protected forest areas. Its current population is estimated to hover in the range of 500.



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Russia boosts protection for tigers


Trade, transportation and possession of endangered species will all be considered crimes under new legislation proposed by the Kremlin, following discussions with WWF.

Tiger hunting is considered by many to be the biggest single factor in the decline of tigers this century – resulting in the world losing 97 per cent of its wild tigers, including four entire sub-species which have been driven to extinction. It is estimated that there may be as few as 3,200 of the endangered animals now remaining in the wild.

Unfortunately, until now, law in the Russian Federation, home to many of the world’s remaining tigers, only considered the actual killing of an animal to be a crime. Poachers who have been apprehended carrying the animals, or their parts, have attempted to avoid punishment by claiming they had found the animals already deceased.

“This new development is a significant step towards protection of tigers and other endangered species threatened by trade and poaching,” said Igor Chestin, CEO of WWF Russia, who was heavily involved in negotiations on the issue with the government. Russia has agreed for its Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment to prepare the draft law in close cooperation with WWF.

Indicative of the problem, a man who was recently found in possession of the remains of six tigers, and another with eight tiger skins, might only be be eligible for an insignificant fine under the current law.

WWF and its partner wildlife monitoring organization TRAFFIC, are currently conducting a global campaign aimed at achieving greater protection for tigers and other major threatened species, such as rhinos and elephants.

Demand for ivory, rhino horn and tiger parts from consumer markets in Asia is driving wild populations of these species dangerously close to extinction. WWF is calling on governments to combat illegal wildlife trade and reduce demand for endangered species products.

“Elevating trade, transportation and possession of endangered species to a serious crime is a long-awaited measure that we believe will dramatically reduce poaching,” said Mr Chestin, who also added that WWF is also happy to see steps being made towards increased protection for tiger habitats.

The Primorsky region, where 90 per cent of the Russian tigers live, wasidentified and promoted as one location where no commercial timber harvest should take place in its regional protected areas and nut harvesting zones. The regional administration was also ordered to prevent any commercial logging in the upper and middle stream sections of the Bikin River.

By the 1940s, hunting had driven the Amur tiger to the brink of extinction – with no more than 40 individuals remaining in the wild.

The subspecies was saved when Russia became the first country in the world to grant the tiger full protection.

By the 1980s, the Amur tiger population had increased to around 500. Continued conservation and antipoaching efforts by many partners – including WWF – have helped keep the population stable at around 400 individuals. In 2010, the Russian Government adopted the Strategy for Tiger Conservation, making commitments to double the number of wild tigers by 2022 and to stiffen punishment for those caught smuggling tiger products.

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Habitat loss drives Sumatran tiger to verge of extinction


Washington: The destruction of vegetation is driving the Sumatran tiger to the brink of extinction, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) researchers say.

The Sumatran tiger, native to Indonesia, could be the fourth type of tiger to disappear from the wild thanks to deforestation and the loss of thick groundcover, also known as understory cover, said Sunarto, a WWF tigert expert, who led the study, the first to investigate the use of both forests and plantation areas for tiger habitat.

Although tigers prefer forest to plantation areas, the study found that the most important factor was that availability of thick ground-level vegetation which apparently serves as an environmental necessity for tiger habitat, regardless of location, the journal Public Library of Science ONE reported.

“As ambush hunters, tigers would find it hard to capture their prey without adequate understory cover,” said Sunarto, who earned his doctorate at Virginia Tech and now is a tiger expert for the World Wildlife Fund-Indonesia (WWF-Indonesia).

“The lack of cover also leaves tigers vulnerable to persecution by humans, who generally perceive them as dangerous,” added Sunarto. Within forest areas, tigers also strongly prefer sites that have low levels of human disturbance, according to a univeristy statement.

Estimates place the current wild tiger populations at as few as 3,200 tigers, including only about 400 Sumatran tigers, which are listed as critically endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species.

“These study results indicate that to thrive, tigers depend on the existence of large contiguous forest blocks,” said study co-author Marcella Kelly, associate professor in Virginia Tech’s department of fish and wildlife conservation and Sunarto’s graduate advisor.

The Indonesian government has set aside many areas and national parks for the conservation of endangered species, but about 70 percent of tiger habitat in Sumatra, an island in western Indonesia, remains outside these protected areas.

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Tiger population hits crisis point


HA NOI — Just 30 wild tigers survive today in Viet Nam out of 3,200 across the world, according to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

The WWF said there were 100 wild tigers in Viet Nam 10 years ago.

The conservation body said the number of tigers across the world had decreased by 97 per cent since 1900.

The main reason for the diminishing tiger population was deforestation, said Do Quang Tung, deputy director of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) Viet Nam.

The growing human population had also put pressure on tiger numbers, he added, as had illegal hunting and trafficking.

Meanwhile, Nick Cox, WWF’s manager of protected areas, species and wildlife trade, said Viet Nam was a trade hub for tiger products, while illegal medicines made from tiger bones had become increasingly popular

“It’s very important at the moment to halt the illegal international tiger trade and domestic consumption of tigers,” Cox said.

Keshav Varma, programme director of Global Tiger Initiative (GTI), said the continuous demand for tiger parts and the surge in illegal smuggling were totally unacceptable.

He said if things continued going as they were, the last remaining tigers in Indo-China would be wiped out within a few years.

Hoang Thi Thanh Nhan, deputy head of the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry’s Bio-diversification Conservation Department, said Viet Nam, in a bid to save tigers in the wild, had participated in Global Tiger Initiative forums.

Viet Nam and 12 other countries had made a historic commitment to eradicating poaching and the illegal trade in wild tigers at the St Petersburg Tiger Summit last November, she said.

CITIES’ Tung added that a US$50 million national programme on tiger conservation had been set up with the aim of doubling the numbers of animals in the wild in Viet Nam by 2020. — VNS


Future depends on actions

HA NOI – The General Department of the Environment in co-operation with the World Wildlife Fund celebrated the second annual International Tiger Day yesterday in Ha Noi’s Thong Nhat Park.

The celebrations carried the message “The future of tigers depends on our actions”.

It is part of efforts to raise public awareness about tiger conservation in Viet Nam. — VNS

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Nearly 200 tigers fell prey to poaching in last 12 years


Nearly 200 tigers were killed by poachers in and around various forest reserves in the country [India], in the last 12 years, news that points out the danger that the national animal faces in its habitat.

Besides, 250 wild cats died of natural causes including old age, in fighting, starvation, road and rail accidents, electrocution and weakness during this period.

According to an RTI reply from the Ministry of Environment and Forests, 447 wild cats were reportedly found dead between 1999 and March 2011 in and around a number of natural habitats for tigers, of which 197 were poached.

The ministry also noted that poaching was the major cause behind disappearance of tigers from Sariska and Panna reserves.

“The cases of local extinction of tigers were reported in Sariska, Rajasthan (2005) and Panna, Madhya Pradesh (2008). As reported, poaching of tigers was the major cause of their extinction,” National Tiger Conservation Authority under the MoEF said in reply to an RTI query filed by PTI.

A highest of 36 each tigers were poached in 2001 and 2002, followed by 24 each in 1999 and in 2010, it said. Two tigers were found to be killed in poaching between January and March 17 this year, the reply said.

Whereas 20 wild cats were killed in 2003, 17 in 2009, 10 in 2007, nine each in 2000 and 2008, and five fell prey to hunters in 2006, it said.

The ministry, however, did not give details of action taken reports in the cases of poaching, saying that concerned state governments were the custodian of information.

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Rare Sumatran tiger killed by electric fence


An endangered Sumatran tiger has died after brushing against an electric fence set up by Indonesian farmers, in the second such incident this year, an official said Friday.

There are fewer than 400 Sumatran tigers left in the wild and environmental activists say the animals are increasing coming into contact with people as a result of their natural habitat being lost due to deforestation.

The two-metre (six foot) male tiger was electrocuted on Monday in Jambi province in the centre of Sumatra, Indonesia’s largest island, a provincial conservation agency chief, Trisiswo, told AFP.

He said it was the second time this year a tiger had died as a result of the electric fences installed by locals to protect palm oil plantations.

“The tiger’s body was partly charred but unlike the first incident, the body was still intact,” he said. Locals had sold some of the body parts of the tiger that was killed last month. afp

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Thai police seize six tiger cubs


BANGKOK – POLICE in Thailand have seized six tiger cubs in a raid on the home of a suspected weapons dealer, an anti-wildlife trafficking organisation said on Wednesday.

The owner, living in eastern Sa Kaeo province, did not have a permit so the tigers have been taken into the care of the Department of National Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation, according to the Freeland Foundation.

It said that tigers can fetch US$30,000 (S$38,000) on the black market and despite their endangered status continue to be purchased for their bones and organs used in medicines, while their skins are prized as trophies and ornaments.

The conservation group WWF has warned that tigers could become extinct within 12 years, with the number of the big cats worldwide plunging 97 per cent from its peak to around just 3,200. — AFP

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