Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The Bali Zoo on the Indonesian island resort of Bali is currently hosting two sumatran tigers (Panthera tigris sumatrae), which are expected to attract many visitors during the year-end holidays.

Bali Zoo has been recognized by the Indonesian government as the best conservation institution in the country for 2017.

For this reason, a pair of Sumatran tigers, male and female, were granted to the Bali Zoo by the Kinantan Wildlife Cultural Park of Bukittinggi (TMSBK) in West Sumatra.

Bukittinggi Tourism, Youth and Sports Agency Chief Erwin Umar remarked in Bukittinggi on Friday that the grant to Bali Zoo was part of a cooperation agreement between TMSBK and the zoo to improve sumatran tiger conservation efforts.

Erwin explained that the process for extending the wildlife grant to Bali Zoo took one year for obtaining the licenses.

"There are many licenses to be obtained, ranging from the Natural Resource Conservation Center, the local governor, and the Ministry of Environment and Forestry to those required when the tigers were sent to Bali. We also communicated with those who helped escort the animals," he remarked.

The two sumatran tigers were transported to Bali Zoo by road, escorted by three forest policemen, West Sumatra Police, and a veterinarian.

With the grant of two protected animals, the sumatran tiger collection at the TMSBK has dropped from 12 tails to 10 tails.

Under the cooperation agreement with Bali Zoo, the two sumatran tigers are expected to adapt there and will be a means of education for children and visitors to the zoo.

The Sumatran tiger is one of the last remaining tiger species in Indonesia after the balinese and javanese tiger species were declared extinct, but now, its existence remains under threat because its habitat has shrunk and it is being hunted for trading.

Poaching of sumatran tigers on the island of Sumatra for trading remains rampant, following the apprehension of a man in possession of a sumatran tiger fur in Jambi in October 2017.

Jambi Police and local Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA) officials at the time in the Berbak National Park apprehended Marsum (45), a resident of Tanjab Timur District, and seized a tiger skin and some tiger bones from him, according to Jambi Police spokesman Senior Commissioner Ahmad Haydar.

Haydar remarked that Marsum admitted to have hunted the Sumatran tiger by using a 900-meter life electric wire to capture the rare, protected animal.

The tiger captured by Marsum was a female sumatran tiger that was only about two years old. The perpetrator admitted that he would like to sell the sumatran tiger fur for Rp105 million, but before he made a transaction with a buyer, he had been apprehended.

Rampant poaching, coupled with the opening of massive plantation areas and forest fires, has led to the continued drop in the number of protected sumatran tigers.

Previously in September 2016, Indonesia Environment and Forestry Ministry (KLHK) officials also apprehended two men in possession of a sumatran tiger fur in Indragiri Hulu District, Riau Province.

Local Security and Law Enforcement Center for Environment and Forests spokesman Edward Hutapea remarked at the time that two men, known by their initials as AH (51) and JO (35) were detained for carrying an intact sumatran tiger fur.

After a two-week coordination effort between the KLHK, Jambi Natural Resources Conservation Agency, and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and reconnaissance in Jambi, the officials apprehended the duo for illegally possessing the sumatran tiger fur.

WWF said there was still a substantial market in Asia for tiger parts and products.

The confiscated sumatran tiger fur had a length of some two meters and was intact, with no defects from head to tail, indicating that the poachers were professionals.

Public awareness must also be raised to curb illicit trade involving wild animals and their products which is currently the worlds fifth largest business with a turnover of US$19 billion each year.

Indonesia, according to ProFauna, is rich in biodiversity with more than 300 thousand wildlife species or 17 percent of those in the world.

Besides, the country also becomes the habitat of endemic wildlife, and most of them in Indonesia are found nowhere else around the world.

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), there are 259 endemic mammals, 282 endemic birds, and 172 endemic amphibians.

Despite rich in biodiversity, Indonesia is also notorious as a country which has long list of the threatened wildlife, and the threatened wildlife in the country in 2011 included 184 mammals, 119 birds, 32 reptiles, 32 amphibians, and 140 fish.

There are 68 species which are critically endangered and 69 endangered species, and 517 vulnerable species. These wildlife will be eventually extinct if there is no action to save them from extinction, especially the sumatran tiger.

Reporter: Otniel Tamindael
Editor: Ade P Marboen
Copyright © ANTARA 2017