Habitat destruction and poaching threaten the Sumatran tiger in Kerinci Seblat National Park, Sumatra

Matthew Linkie a1c1, Deborah J. Martyr a2, Jeremy Holden a2, Achmad Yanuar a2, Alip T. Hartana a3, Jito Sugardjito a4 and Nigel Leader-Williams a1
a1 The Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology, University of Kent at Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NS, United Kingdom. E-mail: ml33@ukc.ac.uk
a2 Fauna & Flora International, PO Box 42, Sungai Penuh, Kerinci, Jambi, Sumatra, Indonesia
a3 Kerinci Seblat Tiger Protection Programme, c/o KSNP, Sungai Penuh, Kerinci, Jambi, Sumatra, Indonesia
a4 Fauna & Flora International-Indonesia Programme, Bantarjati, Bogor, Indonesia


The Sumatran tiger, categorized as Critically Endangered on the 2002 IUCN Red List, is threatened by poaching for domestic and international markets, by prey depletion from human hunting and by habitat loss from illegal and commercial logging, oil palm production, pioneer farming, mining operations and forest fires. Kerinci Seblat National Park (KSNP) in west-central Sumatra still has large blocks of forest that support tiger populations. In this paper we present information on photo-trapping and tiger distribution in KSNP and adjoining forest. Tigers were found to be present in all habitat types across KSNP. The poaching pressures on tigers and their prey species were evaluated from confiscations of snare traps by Tiger Protection and Conservation Units (TPCU). Poaching pressures were found to be highest for muntjac, then sambar, tiger, and serow and mouse deer. We determined the effectiveness of TPCU patrol size from the number of arrests, and chainsaw and snare trap confiscations per patrol. The success of forest patrols increased with the number of TPCU staff per patrol. We looked at general law enforcement for KSNP, which appeared to be inadequate. To reduce the threat posed by poaching and illegal logging extra TPCU staff are required for patrols, and extra patrol units are required for the northern and southern sections of the Park. In KSNP it is necessary to monitor habitat loss, establish an unambiguous scheme to mitigate human-tiger conflict, and develop a photo-trapping programme to monitor the tiger population.

(Received September 6 2001)
(Revised February 27 2002)
(Accepted September 26 2002)

Key Words: Deforestation; human-tiger conflict; Kerinci Seblat National Park; Panthera tigris sumatrae; poaching; Sumatran tiger.

c1 Corresponding author