In spite of its status as a critically endangered species on the verge of extinction, the population of the Sumatran Tiger (Panthera tigris sumatrae) in the Kerinci Seblat National Park (TNKS) in Jambi has been dwindling due to rampant illegal hunting.
The population in the park had declined from 300 to 165 in 10 years, TNKS official Dian Rusdianto said on Tuesday as quoted by tempo.co.
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.
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.
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. (han)