The latest FFI report from Kerinci Seblat National Park on the island of Sumatra is an encouraging read and suggests that tiger numbers may be increasing due to persistent antipoaching activities and wildlife crime investigations. This project, located in the second largest Protected Area in Indonesia, has been consistently funded first by 21st Century Tiger and laterly by WildCats since 2001. The results suggest that frequency of encounter of tigers on patrols has increased and an occupancy survey by the tiger monitoring team has recorded a significantly higher tiger present. However whilst this is excellent news, the report also cautions that there could be other reasons for both results so we will await the camera trap survey later in 2020 for further collaborating evidence.
See a summary of the FFI report from Kerinci here:
- 116 SMART forest patrols by six TPCUs across a total distance of 1,870Km (1,162 miles) in national park and park-edge forests.
- Nine active tiger snares were detected on six patrols. However, patrol Effort to detect threat was far above the long-term average at 1 active snare per 70 patrol days.
- More than 150 investigation and ‘for information’ reports were logged in park-edge districts and municipalities of four provinces. These found poaching threat to tiger has become primarily opportunist and no longer driven by consistent, organised trade demand.
- A minimum of 101 tigers recorded on TPCU patrols, up from 84 in 2018-2019 and 89 in 2017-2018 with 57% of patrols reporting one or more tigers present.
- TPCU frequency of encounter with tiger increased to 1-18.5km park-wide and Effort to record tiger reduced to 1-6.1 patrol days and to 1-4.5 days in the Core area.
- Five tiger poachers or traders arrested, prosecuted following investigations by TPCU personnel. A man already cautioned by TPCUs for clearing Core Area national park forests to build a luxury house was arrested and sentenced to three-years in prison and a record GBP 85,000 fine.
- Seven human-tiger conflicts were attended and mitigated, five of these incidents were minor and only two involved livestock predation (in one case, semi-feral farmland guard or hunting dogs).
- Park-wide Sumatran Tiger Occupancy surveys by the FFI/KSNP tiger monitoring team recorded tiger presence in 87% of the 69 grid cells surveyed park-wide, significantly higher than under the last park-wide survey conducted in 2007-2008.
- 36 TPCU and MHS team members received training in wildlife emergency responses, emergency veterinary procedures and protocols.
- 20 prosecutors from district courts in Bengkulu province – which includes areas of KSNP and Bukit Barisan Selatan NP received training in wildlife crime prosecution.
- Eight senior TPCU rangers, five national park officers, KSDA Jambi and local forestry service rangers leading patrols in areas adjoining the east of the national park trained in wildlife scene of crime management and forensic evidence collection.
- No evidence of significant leakage of threat to tiger from TPCU patrol focus areas to other areas of the national park was recorded on tiger occupancy surveys so advising that actions by the programme since 2016 have leveraged a landscape-wide fall in threat to tigers.
You can read the full report here