By David Braunn
It’s not often we can share good news of the world’s remaining wild tigers. This week Panthera, a global big cat conservation organization, said a preliminary survey it helped organize had discovered an unexpected density of wild tigers in the southern section of Tambling Wildlife Nature Conservation (TWNC), a privately managed concession on Indonesia’s Sumatra island.
Camera traps uncovered the burgeoning tiger stronghold on an island that typically makes headlines for its rampant loss of forests and wildlife, Panthera said in a statement about the findings.
Beacon of Hope
Initial data suggest a density of six tigers per 100 square kilometers (about 40 square miles), nearly double the highest recorded for the island to date, Panthera explained. “These findings, including camera trap images of tiger cubs like that above, have identified Tambling, which is part of the globally significant Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park, as a beacon of hope for the last remaining 400-500 wild Sumatran tigers,” the charity said.
Tomy Winata, an Indonesian businessman, conservationist and founder of the 170-square-mile (450-square-kilometer) Tambling sanctuary, has led critical tiger conservation initiatives in the region since 1996, and recently partnered with Panthera to implement the camera trap survey.
Said Panthera’s CEO and tiger scientist, Alan Rabinowitz: “The extraordinary tiger densities that have been discovered in Tambling are the tangible result of Mr. Tomy Winata’s program not just to provide tigers sanctuary, but to protect them. Simply put, the main threat to tigers across their range is from poaching. Poaching is not a disease we can’t see or a threat we can’t identify. It can be beaten if the will is there to do so. Armed with a zero tolerance policy towards poaching, Mr. Tomy Winata and his team have successfully secured a significant area utilizing effective enforcement. More....