Indonesia’s forestry department has announced plans for the establishment of a major tiger sanctuary for illegally trapped and captured Sumatran tigers. With just 300 individual tigers left in the wild the new plan will be a major contribution towards helping prevent the extinction of the species.
The tiger sanctuary will be developed in Riau province and will consist of semi-natural land that will be developed to replicate a true tiger habitat. The Forestry Ministry are working with experts from Yogyakarta’s Gadjah Mada University (UGM) to get the tiger sanctuary established and it is hoped to be completed next year.
Speed is of the essence if the Sumatran tigers are to survive the current epidemic of poaching and habitat loss. If the Sumatran tiger is to survive extinction and last another 100 years then experts estimate that at least 250 individuals are required for a sustainable population. With just 300 tigers remaining the clock towards extinction is ticking.
With at least 100km2 of habitat required to support each of those tigers the protection of habitat is essential.
Novianto Bambang, the ministry’s director for biodiversity conservation told the Jakarta Globe, “There are now only around 300 individual tigers left in their natural habitat, mostly scattered in the forests of Jambi and Riau. It is a very critical situation that requires a quick response,”
Satyawan Pudyatmoko from the UGM explained that, “Indonesia is the only country to lose two subspecies of tiger, the Javan and Balinese tigers. If we don’t save the Sumatran tiger immediately, it will follow the others into extinction.”
With an estimated population in the wild of 300, down from almost 2000 in the 1970′s, there are now more Sumatran tigers in zoos and safari parks than there are in the wild.