By Ally Catterick
Largest number of snares seized in seven years
Sumatra, Indonesia; Today two of Fauna & Flora International’s Tiger Conservation Protection Units returned from the field after a five day ‘snare sweep’ in Kerinci Seblat National Park forest on the Bengkulu border in Indonesia.
The patrol was launched on the basis of information received advising tiger snares had been laid and were active there.
Debbie Martyr, Field Coordinator for FFI’s Kerinci Tiger Protection Programme advised that in addition to the actual snares, the rangers were “looking for evidence to support information that a tiger had been snared – and managed to release itself – in the area only weeks earlier.”
As a result of this patrol, a total of eight dedicated tiger ’cable’ snares were uncovered on ridge trails running west-east between three local rivers.
This is the highest number of tiger snares this team has found and destroyed in a single patrol since early 2004. Only tiger snares were found, no deer or bird snares, providing categorical evidence this was focused poaching of the Sumatran tiger.
Debbie Martyr said, “We are pretty satisfied now that this is the location where recently two of our tigers were snared and killed, sold to a local dealer (identified) and thence to another dealer (identified) in a park edge district and province.”
The population of the critically endangered Sumatran tiger currently stands at less than 500 individuals, 150 of which live in and around Kerinci Seblat National Park, making this the largest known population and one of 12 global priorities for tiger conservation.
Despite clear indications of an increase in tiger populations where the TCPU is active, people continue to be their biggest threat and seizing eight snares in one patrol is a bittersweet victory.