Tiger Protection Project – Auckland Zoo funded

The Kerinci Seblat Tiger Protection Project is an on-going project is collaboration between Kerinci Seblat National Park (KSNP) and Fauna & Flora International (FFI). 21st Century Tiger has been supporting this project since 2000 and during that time the number of anti-poaching units has risen from three to six. During 2015 this essential work was given a further financial boost with a grant from the Auckland Zoo Conservation Fund to support the teams.FFI_TPCU_KSNP_March2015

Kerinci Seblat National Park is the second-largest national park  in Southeast Asia, covering approximately 1.35 million hectares excluding buffer zone forests. The Park is critical habitat for the endangered Sumatran tiger.

The program is committed to maintaining a sustainable and effective species conservation program in one of Asia’s most important national parks and does this through:

  • Supporting the Indonesian Governments commitment regarding protection of threatened species, particularly the critically endangered Sumatran tiger
  • Carrying out intelligence investigations to identify threat so a response can be formulated
  • Patrolling in key areas to prevent or remove threat and to establish a national park presence in the forest
  • Encouraging intervention to mitigate the effects of human-tiger conflict for protection of both the community and Sumatran tiger
  • Ensuring law enforcement to address wildlife and other forest crime and support the legal process

Six four-man Tiger Protection and Conservation Units are operational with each unit led by a National Park Ranger leader with ranger members drawn from forest-edge communities. Units operate under the day-to-day direction of young national park managers who report to the director of the national park.

During 2013-14 Auckland Zoo Conservation Fund supported the teams by giving a grant to purchase a new 4-wheel drive vehicle for the teams.

 

What's been happening?

Funding from Auckland Zoo provided support to six Tiger Protection & Conservation Units and their back-up team to conduct patrols and other activities in and around Kerinci Seblat National Park and park-edge districts of four provinces of Sumatra.

A total of 109 forest patrols were conducted between August 2015-June 2016 across a walking distance of 1910 km with a minimum of 96 Sumatran tiger records made and with tigers present on just over 60% of all patrols. TPCU rangers detected and destroyed a total of 50 active tiger snares in the course of 15 patrols – the great majority launched on the basis of ‘information received’.

However, while threat remains high, patrol records advise the number of active tiger snares destroyed almost halved between January and May 2016 compared with the same months in 2014 and 2015. More than 110 wildlife crime investigation reports were logged with one long-running investigation culminating in tiger law enforcement in early January 2016 and the arrest of the leader of a tiger poaching syndicate active in three provinces of Sumatra and a second tiger poacher.

One of these two men was subsequently sentenced to a four years custodial term – the heaviest ever made under current Indonesian wildlife crime legislation and a substantial fine while the second was sentenced to three years imprisonment and a heavy fine.

Additionally four human-tiger conflicts were mitigated by TPCUs, one involving an incident in which a forest-edge farmer was bitten by a tiger cub while clearing undergrowth in his cinnamon plantation.