Pekanbaru, Riau (ANTARA) - Syamsidar, WWF's Riau Program spokesman, opined that relocating Sumatran tigers will not resolve the conflicts arising between humans and Sumatran tigers (panthera tigris sumatrae) in Pelangiran Sub-district, Indragiri Hilir District, Riau Province.

Syamsidar stated on Friday that the best way forward would be to keep Sumatran tigers in their original habitat since it was yet not known with certainty on whether they can adapt themselves to new locations.

He pointed to another cause for concern wherein the new locations might also become deforested, degraded, and be encroached upon by people someday.

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"Hence, relocation might trigger new conflicts at the new location in the absence of monitoring and intensive handling," he stated.

His statement referred to a letter sent by Tanjung Simpang’s villagers to the local authorities, calling for the relocation of Sumatran tigers that had killed three humans this year in Pelangiran, Riau.

According to WWF’s monitoring, 75 percent of Sumatran tigers and Sumatran elephants were spotted roaming outside the conservation area, as part of it had been converted for other purposes, while those animals were still there, he stated.

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An overlapping function at the same location, which was earlier solely a conservation area, will trigger conflicts between human beings and animals, he noted.

"In such a condition, a conflict is unavoidable. What we could do is aim for conflict prevention by applying good management practices in those concession areas," he stated.

He believed that Riau required to have a special task force to deal with human-animal conflicts akin to the Riau government’s action in 2007 through the involvement of various relevant institutions and organizations.

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Such a task force can be revived or new ones can be established, he stated.

The Sumatran tiger is the only surviving tiger species in the country, and the smallest of the five tiger subspecies in the world. Currently, its population is believed to lie between 400 and 600.

In earlier days, Indonesia was home to three tiger species, including the Bali tiger, which became extinct in 1940, and the Java tiger, declared extinct in the 1980s.

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Translator: FB Anggoro, Fardah
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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