The public at large need to contribute to the environment and rare species conservation."
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Indonesia needs to increase the number of its forest rangers and forest technicians in the field to prevent rare species and forest damage, an activist of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Indonesia said.

"We need many more forest rangers and forest technicians in the field to prevent damage to tigers` habitat and tiger hunting," Sunarto, WWF Indonesia coordinator for elephant and tiger conservation, said here on Tuesday.

He said that WWF Indonesia had so far encouraged and assisted the Ministry of Forestry to carry out better protected forest management through the public`s active participation.

"Sumatra`s forest is important not only for the survival of Sumatra`s typical animal species such as tiger but also for serving as a buffer of human life. Therefore, all sides should take active part in efforts to restore forest," he said.

He said that one of the efforts to conserve Sumatran tigers was to expand the coverage of natural forest, not adversely letting its acreage continue to decrease.

The restoration of tigers` habitat should become a joint commitment of all components of the nation, he said.

"The public at large need to contribute to the environment and rare species conservation. Our activities or what have consumed every day have directly or indirectly posed a threat to the survival of Sumatran tigers and Indonesian forest," he said.

Therefore, the conservation of species is not the responsibility of the forestry ministry alone but also of all Indonesian people.

Based on the red list of the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) in 2008, a total of 51 Sumatran tigers were killed every year, about 76 percent of which were a result of illegal trading.

In the meantime, the Special Tiger Police (PHS) Unit of Kerinci Seblat National Park (TNKS) has been conducting a special operation during the Islamic fasting month of Ramadan as part of efforts to prevent extinction of Sumatran tigers.

The annual "traps sweep" operation in the Islamic holy month is actually only one of the efforts to slow the process of extinction of the Panthera Tigris Sumatrae species," field manager of the patrol unit (PFS) of the park, Dian Risdianto, said last week.

He said the population of the animal species had continued to decline to currently between 100 and 200 heads in the TNKS or is on the brink of extinction.

He said "tigers live individually or not in a group like lions and so they need a vast forest to survive while the TNKS is already shrinking."

He said tigers were also very selective when mating, adding "the animal would only mate with a female tiger who is really healthy and not of his family line.

To get a good mate a tiger has a zone of 50 square kilometers while a female tiger only around 20 square kilometers, Dian said.

In view of the remaining number it could be concluded that incest had happened and the remaining tigers could probably be unhealthy or infertile due to incest, he said.

"So efforts taken so far are merely slowing the process of extinction," he added.

Editor: Priyambodo RH
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