“With so much deforestation and poaching in Sumatra, wild tigers face a very difficult future, but we have the tools available to reverse their decline if the clearance of their forest can be halted.” -Dr. Barney, LongAsian Species Expert
Sumatran tigers (scientific name: Panthera tigris sumatrae) are found only in the remaining patches of forests on the island of Sumatra, Indonesia. As late as 1978, experts estimated the population of this tiger subspecies at 1000. Today, only fewer than 400 Sumatran tigers exists. These tigers are classified as critically endangered species on the IUCN Red List.
Accelerating deforestation to create space for agriculture, plantations and settlements has led to drastic habitat loss for Sumatran tigers. It has been reported that about 25,868 square of forest were cleared in Sumatra between 1985 and 1997. Due to habitat destruction, these tigers are forced into settled areas in search of food. This has led to human-tiger conflict which is a serious problem in Sumatra. The Sumatran tigers preyed on the livestock and wounded people living in the villages. Retaliatory action by villages resulted in the killing of tigers.
Efforts have been taken to conserve the Sumatran tigers. An example would be law enforcement which include tough provisions for jail term and steep fines. Also, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Tiger Protection Units guard susceptible forested areas, gather intelligence against wildlife crime, and keep forests safe by removing poachers’ traps and snares. Moreover, they educate villagers about how to live with tigers in attempts to reduce human-tiger conflicts.