Tiger population in Bengkulu now only 40

Tiger population in Bengkulu now only 40

Panthera Tigris Sumatrae in Bengkulu. (ANTARA/Hendri)

Bengkulu (ANTARA News) - The Sumatran tiger population in Bengkulu Province is now estimated at only 40, a provincial nature conservation official said.

"According to an estimation by an endangered animal protection organization, the population of the Sumatran tiger in Bengkulu is around 40," Head of the Bengkulu Natural Resource Conservation Agency (BKSDA) Amon Zamora said here on Thursday.

The big cats were to be found in North Bengkulu, Seluma, Kepahiang, Muko-Muko, Lebong, Kaur and other districts, he said.

In 2011, at least two Bengkulu residents were killed by tigers respectively in Seluma and Lebong Districts.

The latest incident was when Fitriani (6) was found dead with tiger bite wounds in her thigh at her village of Tebot Mono, Kepahiang District.

In tiger vs human being conflicts occurring in the districts of Lebong, Bengkulu Utara, Seluma and Muko-Muko respectively, four people were seriously injured.

"Over the past few years, the number of human-tiger conflict cases in Bengkulu has increased. In 2010, there were only eight cases, and in 2011, up to October, there were already 11 cases, and two villagers were killed," he said.

The increased conflicts were due to the depletion of tigers` habitats as villagers often encroached on the tigers` habitats, he said.

The Sumatran tiger (Panthera tigris sumatrae) is a tiger subspecies that inhabits the Indonesian island of Sumatra and has been classified as critically endangered by IUCN in 2008.

The wild Sumatran tiger population is estimated at fewer than 400 individuals.