Cool Science
Sumatran Tigers on the Rise in Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park

October 24, 2017

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Living only on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, the Critically Endangered Sumatran tiger is the sole remaining sub-species of "island tigers," a group which once included the now-extinct Javan and Bali tigers.

Sumatran tigers face many threats, including poaching, habitat loss, and conflict with humans. That's why a new report from WCS and the Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park Authority is so encouraging. It shows that the population density of Sumatran tigers inside the park's protection zone has increased.

Using camera traps, researchers were able to determine that Sumatran tiger population density has increased from 1.6 tigers per 36 square miles in 2002 to 2.8 tigers per 36 square miles in 2015.

Furthermore, the proportion of male and female tigers recently recorded was 1:3, indicating that the tiger population in the National Park is in a healthy condition and breeding opportunity exists for many females within the areas surveyed.

"The tiger population increase can’t be separated from our efforts to maintain this area through ranger patrols," said Timbul Batubara, one of the co-authors and the former head of the Bukit Barisan National Park. "With support from WCS and other partners, we conducted patrols in and around the park to remove tiger and prey snare traps and prevent habitat encroachment.”

WCS Indonesia Country Director and co-author of the paper Dr. Noviar Andayani added, “This increasing population trend in Sumatran tigers is a dream come true for all conservationists in Indonesia."

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