July 11, 2019

Minister highlights growth in Sumatran tiger population

JAKARTA ( - In her speech at the Opening Session of the 9th Trondheim Conference on Biodiversity in Norway, Indonesian Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya, among other things, raised the issue of the increasing population of Sumatran tigers - one of the world's critically-endangered species - as well as the growth in population of other wildlife species.

This news report focuses on issues related to this increase in the population of Sumatran tiger, which is especially relevant seeing that International Tiger Day is celebrated at the end of this month (Jul 29).

As outlined by the minister in her speech, an increase from 180 to 220 individual Sumatran tigers was recorded from 2015-2018. This situation was made possible, according to her, because of conservation work carried out in four prioritized national parks; Gunung Leuser, Kerinci Seblat, Berbak Sembilang and Bukit Barisan Selatan.

Given that the Sumatran tiger's habitat extends beyond these four national parks - for example, in the Leuser Ecosystem which serves as a case study in this news report - it is certain that there has been an even greater addition in the population of this key wildlife species than that reported. 

Gunung Leuser National Park, covering an area nearly 38 times the size of Amsterdam the majority of which lies in Aceh province, is the only ecosystem on earth which is home not only to Sumatran tigers but also Sumatran orangutans, elephants and rhinos.

Coinciding with this year's international earth day, the team photographed the Kluet peat forests, as displayed below, an important part of the Gunung Leuser National Park which is one of the national parks in Sumatra which has seen growth in the Sumatran tiger population. 

Extending into palm oil concessions

The Sumatran tiger's habitat also extends into palm oil concessions situated in parts of the Leuser Ecosystem. Gunung Leuser National Park, which has the status of a conservation area, makes up the core part of this ecosystem.

The following photos, as an example, show the peat forests in a block spanning almost twice the size of Brussels located in a palm oil concession (PT SPS-2) in the Leuser Ecosystem's Tripa peat forest landscape. This area is inhabited by Sumatran tigers as well as orangutans, as previously reported by (Apr 29).

Furthermore, Sumatran tiger habitat is also found at a location adjacent to PT SPS-2 which was previously a palm oil concession (PT Kallista Alam) whose permit was later revoked. It is currently included in the peat moratorium map, as reported earlier by (Jul 1).

The growing population of Sumatran tigers not only derives from the protection of habitat in the Gunung Leuser National Park, but also from the Rawa Singkil wildlife reserve, which also forms an important component of the Leuser Ecosystem, as reported recently by (Apr 25).

The photos below portray how the Rawa Singkil wildlife reserve, equivalent in area to almost 4 times the size of Amsterdam, is almost entirely still composed of relatively intact peat forests, providing a key habitat and breeding ground for the Sumatran tiger.

Law enforcement efforts

In her speech, Minster Nurbaya also emphasized that the conservation efforts carried out by her ministry also involved law enforcement actions over an area of 7.6 million hectares, equal to more than 346 times the size Amsterdam, in the form of nearly 4 thousand ground-based inspections.

“This reinforces the importance of law enforcement efforts in protecting biodiversity and forests as an ecosystem,” the minister pointed out. “Protection efforts focusing on biodiversity in Indonesia are also aimed at achieving global targets,” she added.

At the end of her speech, Minister Nurbaya made the following appeal: “I wish to call for enhanced global cooperation to protect our biodiversity. I hope we can work together to formulate indicators, instruments, mechanisms, efforts and the way forward, to achieve the ambitious goals of the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework.”

Later this month, President Joko Widodo will sign a permanent moratorium on the development of primary forests and peatlands covering more than 66 million hectares, more than 21 times the size of Belgium, the figures for which were previously detailed by the minister as reported by (Jul 1).



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