Poaching, illegal trade still threatening Sumatran tigers

Poaching, illegal trade still threatening Sumatran tigers

Harimau Sumatera (panthera tigris sumatrae). (ANTARA/FB Anggoro)

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Poaching and illegal trade in tiger parts are still major threats to the survival of the Sumatran tiger (Panthera tigris sumatrae), according to an NGO activist.

The Sumatran tiger is the only remaining tiger sub-species in Indonesia following the extinction of Java and Balinese tigers in the early 20th century, Osmantri, chief coordinator of the WWF-Indonesia`s Tiger Protection Unit, said here on Thursday.

The Sumatran tiger population on Sumatran Island is estimated at 400 heads at present, he said.

Poaching and illegal trade usually involved financially strong and big networks, he said.

"In general, illegal trading in wildlife causes state losses, and it must be dealt with in the same way as illegal logging," he said.

The Indonesian government is one of the 13 tiger range nations which have signed a commitment on the Global Tiger Recovery Program in St. Petersburg, Russia, in November 2010.

The program is aimed among other things to preserve the Sumatran tiger and its habitat, and intensify legal enforcement against poaching and illegal trade in tiger parts.

The Indonesian government has also outlined the Sumatran Tiger Conservation Strategy Plan 2007-2017.

"The international world is watching whether Indonesia will be successful or fail in these efforts and it could affect the country`s image," he said.

WWF-Indonesia also expressed appreciation to the Payakumbuh district court and the Payakumbuh prosecutor`s office for bringing to justice Afandi (49), who is charged will illegal trade in tiger parts.

The Sumatran Tiger (Panthera tigris sumatrae) is recognized as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and its population is decreasing.

Studies conducted in 1994 and 2007 both estimated the total population to be around 400-500 individuals. Habitat loss, fragmentation, and poaching for illegal trade on the island they inhabit (Sumatra) has put this tiger subspecies in some of the worst of circumstances.