Fact and Solution
The Sumatran tiger (Panthera tigris sumatrae) is Indonesia’s last remaining tiger subspecies, since the extinction of its unique subspecies from the island of Bali (P. t. balica) in the 1940s and Java (P. t. sondaica) in the 1980s. The most commonly used present day estimate for the number of Sumatran tigers is 400-500 adult individuals, even though this figure originates from a 1994 Sumatran Tiger Action Plan.
Despite being outdated, this estimate only considered tiger populations in seven protected areas and was therefore conservative. A more recent and reliable estimate does not exist and updating the tiger population size estimate remains a government priority. Nevertheless, recent assessments of Sumatran tiger status have revealed its widespread distribution, being present in 29 of 38 available forest habitat patches that cover 97% of the 144,160 km2 available forest . Following on from this, a more detailed island-wide survey was completed in 2009, covered 59% of the available habitat and revealed a high (72%) tiger occupancy here .
Across Sumatra, the principal threat to biodiversity, which is ubiquitous across Indonesia, is forest habitat loss and degradation. Additional threats facing several threatened wildlife species, especially the tiger and its prey, are poaching for domestic consumption (such as sambar deer meat) and trade (such as tiger body parts), as well as retaliatory killings elicited from conflicts with villagers (such as tiger attacks on livestock or people).
Sumatran Tiger organizes project’s interventions into three components:
Increased effectiveness of key protected area management institutions will address the first barrier, weak natural resource governance and protected area management capacity, through strengthening the adaptive management capacity of the MoEF at central and protected area levels for the five target national parks, upgrading PA management plans, renewing the National Tiger Recovery Plan (NTRP), strengthening patrolling and law enforcement capacity, and introducing systematic monitoring and evaluation of protected areas (PA) management effectiveness.
Inter-sectoral coordination systems developed for priority landscapes will address the second barrier, poor institutional coordination between multiple agencies for wildlife and forest conservation, by bringing together all of the relevant agencies (at national and local levels) through creating biodiversity management partnerships that focus on the pertinent issues of illegal wildlife trade, infrastructure development, exotic plantation operations in PA buffer zones and human-tiger conflict mitigation. Efforts here will be guided and monitored through project developed tiger, prey and threat assessments.
Sustainable financing for biodiversity management will address the third barrier, inadequate financial planning and management for protected areas, by demonstrating and sharing new sustainable financing mechanisms to meet long-term management expenditure needs for protected areas in priority landscapes with the potential to replicate successful models elsewhere in Indonesia, and piloting public-private partnerships in high biodiversity sites adjacent to protected areas to support biodiversity-friendly land use within priority landscapes.