New Hope For Sumatra's Tigers
July 30, 2013

Survey Shows Record Tiger Density Rate In Region Of Sumatra

redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online

Preliminary data from a camera trap survey in Sumatra, Indonesia shows an unexpectedly high density of tigers living in the Tambling Wildlife Nature Conservation (TWNC).

In fact, according to the researchers responsible for the work, the density of tigers per 100km2 in the southern region of TWNC is the highest ever recorded on the island, and nearly double the previous record.

The survey was led by Indonesian businessman, conservationist and TWNC founder Tomy Winata, who has been involved in tiger conservation efforts in the area since 1996. Winata was assisted on the study by Panthera, a global charitable organization working to protect big cats.

"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," Panthera CEO Dr. Alan Rabinowitz said in a statement.

"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," he added. "Armed with a zero tolerance policy towards poaching, Mr. Tomy Winata and his team have successfully secured a significant area utilizing effective enforcement. This fact, coupled with good science and monitoring, has had the desired results; tigers are now breeding. Tambling is a model tiger conservation site that is giving the Sumatran subspecies a real chance not just to recover...but to thrive."

The survey results, released Monday as part of International Tiger Day, provide new hope for the roughly 400 to 500 wild Sumatran tigers alive today, the investigators said. Much of the credit for the success has been given to Winata, who has law enforcement personnel carry out regular patrols and strives to regularly maintain lowland tiger habitat and prey populations, they added.

"I am doing all this because it is my belief that nature has provided us with everything we need to survive and live in this world, and yet so many people have taken from her for their own benefit without giving anything back in return," Winata said. "So I hope that my efforts in wildlife conservation and forest and ecosystem sustainability can be a role model for others, so that together we can help save Mother Nature and never forget where we came from."

Just one century ago, there were more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. Today, there are less than 3,200 remaining, and based on the current poaching and habitat loss rate, they could disappear entirely within the next decade.

According to, tigers have lost 93 percent of their natural habitat due to the expansion of cities and agriculture. As a result, tigers have become forced to inbreed and are becoming increasingly susceptible to poaching. Both factors have drastically affected their survival rates.