An endangered Sumatran tiger was rescued from an illegal trap in the Indonesian province of Bengkulu. It had been wounded by nine spear strikes, but after the areas Nature Conservation Agency took it in and tended to its health, it was regaining strength. The tiger was estimated to be five years old, and could have been lying wounded caught in the trap for about four days, before the rescue.
“When we found him, he was lying weak on the ground with his front left leg held up in the air, entangled in a wire trap attached to a tree branch,” said Bengkulu’s conservation agency chief Supartono. (Source: National Post)
The type of trap used does not harm the tiger’s skin, so it is suspected poachers who wanted to sell the skin and bones on the black market are to blame. The conservation agency and police are working together in order to find the poachers.
The area where the tiger was found is southwest Sumatra. Two years ago the Sumatran tiger population there was estimated to be about 50, but that number has been dramatically reduced to just about 19 due to poaching, according to one source. The number of Sumatran tigers remaining in the wild is less than 400, and their habitat is being lost and encroached upon by humans.
Loss of habitat means tigers are pushed into smaller natural areas and human farms are often closer to those tiger habitats. Human-tiger conflict results in the deaths of both tigers and humans. Some of the Sumatran tigers live in protected areas such as Kerinci Seblat National Park, but others live in unprotected areas that could be lost to agriculture. Much of their habitat is being converted to palm oil production.
If you want to help Sumatran tigers and other wildlife, reduce or stop buying products containing palm oil. Some types of chocolate, for example, contain palm oil from Indonesia.
Image Credit: Captain Herbert / Wiki Commons