A Sumatran tiger (Panthera tigris sumatrae) is caught in a regulated trapping in Muara Enim, South Sumatra, and transferred to the Sumatran Tiger Rescue Center at the Tambling Wildlife Nature Conservation in Lampung on Wednesday. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)

Roar for Help: Wild Sumatran Tiger Moved to Conservation Area

BY :YUDHA BASKORO

JANUARY 24, 2020

A Sumatran tiger (Panthera tigris sumatrae) has been caught in a regulated trapping in Muara Enim district, South Sumatra, and is now undergoing observation at a conservation facility in Lampung. 

Wildlife biologists and veterinarians are monitoring the tiger’s behavior and health before it can be released back to the wild. 

Population of the Sumatran tiger, the only remaining island living tiger, is estimated to be less than 400 in the wild. Two other Indonesian tiger subspecies -- Bali tiger (Panthera tigris balica) and Javan tiger (Panthera tigris sondaica) -- have been declared extinct by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

The critically endangered subspecies of tiger is increasingly in conflicts with human in Muara Enim as deforestation causes them to rapidly lose habitat. The local government has set up a task force to handle conflicts between human and tigers.

The task force has installed cameras and cage traps at several areas in the forest to catch the big cats alive to be relocated to the conservation area. A cage trap in Pelakat village managed to capture a tiger which was then transferred to the Sumatran Tiger Rescue Center at the Tambling Wildlife Nature Conservation (TWNC) in Lampung. 

Sugeng Dwi Hastono, a veterinarian at the TWNC, said the captive tiger has shown unusual behavior and loss of appetite.  

"This tiger is still young and prone to stress, possibly because of the relocation from Muara Enim to Lampung,” he said. 

He said his team was doing their best to minimize interaction between the captive tiger and humans, including cage keepers and veterinarians. They provided vitamins and meats for the tiger, which is housed in a much bigger cage.

Built in 2007, the facility at the TWNC focuses on wild tigers with history of conflicts with human. The captive big cats will be released to the wild once they are deemed healthy and able to hunt prey on their own. Until now, the facility has captured 13 Sumatran tigers and returned seven of them to the wild.

The conservation area is located near a village. Its staffs conduct routine patrols and use camera traps to monitor tiger activities in the area.

Edi Firiyanto, a security personnel at TWNC, recalled how he was in a face-to-face encounter with a tiger. He said Sumatran tigers would not attack humans unless they were provoked.

"I was attacked by a tiger in the morning, but it was my fault. I was defecating in a river alone and silently. At that time I wore a black hoodie because it was cold. I covered my whole body with the jacket so I might look like a black boar,” he said.

Eddie said he survived because the tiger realized that its prey was human. 

"I had defended myself, but finally the tiger knew that I was human and then he left me alone."

Maintaining habitat and natural prey population are also a priority to prevent Sumatran tigers from hunting livestock or entering residential areas. According to the TWNC, there was no single case of a tiger attacking residents near the conservation area.
 

Tiger keepers and TWNC workers move a cage contain a Sumatran tiger from CASA plane at Tambling Wildlife Nature Conservation in Lampung on Wednesday (22/01). (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
Workers from the Tambling Wildlife Nature Conservation (TWNC) move a covered cage containing a Sumatran tiger from a plane in Lampung on Jan. 22, 2020. 
TWNC workers use a tractor and cover the cage with leaves during the trip takes the Sumatran tiger to the TWNC Rescue Center. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
TWNC workers use a tractor to move a tiger inside a leaf-covered cage to the Sumatran Tiger Rescue Center in Lampung.
Sumatran Tiger lives inside the boxtraps since it caught in Muara Enim, South Sumatra. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
A Sumatran tiger is caught in a cage trap in Muara Enim, South Sumatra. 
The Sumatran tiger sleeps before undegoes rehab at TWNC Rescue Center in Lampung on Thursday (23/01). (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
The captive Sumatran tiger takes a nap before observation by veterinarians at the TWNC facility in Lampung on Jan. 23, 2020. 
Tiger day celebration posters attach at Way Haru Elementary School in Lampung on Thursday (23/01) The school will celebrate Tiger Day that falls every July 29th. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
Tiger Day posters are hanged in a classroom at Way Haru Elementary School in Lampung on Jan. 23, 2020. The Tiger Day falls on July 29. 
Edi Firiyanto, the TWNC security guard shows his scars (near his mouth). He has a scar on his face, head and palm because of tiger attack five years ago. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
TWNC security staff Edi Firiyanto has scars on his face after an encounter with a Sumatran tiger five years ago. 
A farmer who has a land near tigers teritory installed a bell with a bottle that will produce some signal when a tiger or other animals walk near his land. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
A modest alarm made of bottle is installed by a farmer in Lampung to alert when a tiger or other animals walk pass his land. 
TWNC horse rangers conduct a tiger patrol on the beach. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
TWNC rangers conduct a patrol on the beach against any possible trespass by a tiger. 
The lighthouse from the Dutch East Indies era became a patrol place
to see the current condition of the forest, beach marine area at Tambling Wildlife Nature Conservation. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
A lighthouse from the Dutch colonial era is functioned as surveillance tower around the seaside forest at the Tambling Wildlife Nature Conservation in Lampung. 
A deer is looking for food at night at TWNC, Lampung on Thursday (23/01). The natural population of deer in TWNC is sufficient to meet the feeding needs of predators, especially the Sumatran tiger. (JG Photo / Yudha Baskoro)
A deer browses on leaves in the Tambling Wildlife Nature Conservation in Lampung on Jan. 23, 2020. The gentle herbivores are the natural prey of Sumatran tigers in the area. 
The reflection of the cage in the eyes of a Sumatran tiger from Muara Enim, which currently cannot be released to nature, still has to undergo rehabilitation. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
A close-up look into a captive Sumatran tiger’s eye which reflects its cage in Lampung. 

 

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