A handler deployed to repel tigers from a village in South Aceh

A handler deployed to repel tigers from a village in South Aceh

Documentation: A tiger handler named Teungku Syarwani Sabil (83) ANTARA/Irwansyah Putra

Meulaboh, Aceh (ANTARA) - The South Aceh district government has sent a tiger handler named Teungku Syarwani Sabil (83) to help handle conflicts between Sumatran tigers and residents of Durian Kawan Village, Kluet Timur Subdistrict.

"The tiger handler comes from Meulaboh in Aceh Barat District. We sent him to repel the tigers to their natural habitat, and stop posing a threat to the villagers," Head of Kluet Timur Subdistrict Muriadi S was quoted by ANTARA as saying on Sunday.

Teungku Syarwani Sabil was recently deployed to Durian Kawan Village after two cows belonging to the local villagers were attacked by several Sumatran tigers near the village, he said.

He has frequently been deployed by the district government and related authorities to help repel the Sumatran tigers wandering around farmland and villages in Kluet Timur Subdistrict's areas to get back to their habitat.

"The tigers are successfully repelled to forests," he said, adding that the Sumatran tigers' disturbances occur two times in a year during which those endangered wild animals attacked the local villagers' cattle.

In response to the recurrences of human-wildlife conflicts in Aceh, Yahdi Hasan, a member of Aceh Province's legislative body, has appealed to the Aceh provincial administration to seek solutions without making both people and wild animals get suffered.

He argued that the conflicts occur owing to degradation and destruction of the wild animals' natural habitats that are partly contributed by human activities for harvesting natural resources to make a living.

"These human-wildlife conflicts must immediately be resolved to prevent both people and wild animals from getting dragged into an ongoing suffering," Hasan said.

ANTARA noted that in Indonesia, Sumatran tigers (Pantera Tigris Sumatrae) were the only surviving tiger species, as the country had already lost two sub-species of tigers to extinction: the Bali tiger that became extinct in 1937 and the Javan tiger in the 1970s.

Sumatran tigers, the smallest of all tigers, are currently a critically endangered species only found on Sumatra Island, Indonesia’s second-largest island.

The tigers are on the brink of extinction owing to deforestation, poaching, and conflicts between wild animals and local people owing to their dwindling habitats.

The exact figure of Sumatran tigers left in the wild is ambiguous, though the latest estimates range, from under 300 to possibly 500 at 27 locations, including in the Kerinci Seblat National Park, Tesso Nilo Park, and Gunung Leuser National Park.

According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), their numbers have decreased, from about one thousand in the 1970s.

The 2009 report by the forestry ministry points to conflict with humans being the biggest threat to conservation. The report cited that on average, five to 10 Sumatran tigers have been killed yearly since 1998.

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