Sumatran Tiger Population Now Only 500
October 23, 2009 10:53 AM
TAPAKTUAN (Indonesia), Oct 23 (Bernama) -- The number of the Sumatran tigers (Phantera Tigris Sumatrae) living in the forests of Sumatra now only 500, Indonesia's Antara news agency reported.
"There are now only 500 of them left, and the number is constantly declining," Head of the Gunung Lauser National Park, Area I, Rusman said in Tapaktuan Thursday.
The declining population of the rare animals may have been caused by the animals being hunted, trapped or chased away due to the opening of plantations by the villagers.
"The huntings had actually declined, but the opening of plantations is still posing a serious threat to the Sumatran tigers," he said.
Since their roaming areas for hunting their preys had become limited, the tigers entered the plantations and residential areas looking for food.
"Their declining habitat had often triggered conflicts between the tigers and the local population near the forests," he said.
He said South Aceh regency is one of the areas in Gunung Leuser which is most prone to disturbances by the tigers and other wild animals, like elephants and bears.
The disturbances by tigers in the nutmeg producing area had been increasing each year and in the 2006-2008 period more than 10 villagers were killed by tigers.
Rustam said that to minimise the risk of conflict between the wild animals and people in the Indian ocean costal areas, he has been familiarising the local population with the law on animal protection and natural conservation.