All tiger subspecies are threatened for a number of reasons, and all WildCats projects address all or a combination of these priority areas; poaching, habitat loss, prey base depletion, human-tiger conflict and disease.
Poaching: Back in 2011, the FFI Tiger Protection Team warned of a sinister new trend threatening the Sumatran tiger. The birth of “poach-to-order” coupled with a black market rise in the value of wild tiger parts, saw an unprecedented increase in poaching activity. It became clear in this region, that poaching was not a crime committed by low-level criminals, it was (and still is) led by highly organised, transnational criminal syndicates. Our projects have significantly reduced this threat by carrying out intelligence-led investigations, which in 2017, led arrest and conviction of on average 1 poachers or trader a month.
Habitat loss: Indonesia is the world’s largest palm oil producer, having converted as much as half of their rainforest to agricultural land, predominantly for oil palm plantations. This isolates wild tiger populations, leaving them prone to poachers and increased inbreeding due to the reduced gene pool of possible mates. It is not just large corporates responsible for this destruction, smallholders can be equally culpable for illegally clearing land in National Parks. We urge wild tiger fans to always check the provenance of their Sumatran coffee, and if its origins are unclear to question why.
Prey base depletion; tigers need little to survive, safe space, access to food and mates. In Sumatra, especially towards the end of the Ramadan fast, forest-dwelling communities and tigers are often in competition for the same food. Rudimentary traps laid to trap deer can seriously injure or kill tigers.
Human-tiger Conflict: In Sumatra, our projects work with local communities to mitigate conflict issues, before they can escalate to fatalities to livestock, humans or tigers.
Disease: In many regions, tiger populations are fragmented into small groups. They are left vulnerable to diseases such as Canine Distemper Virus, (CDV), as well as a host of genetic problems caused by a reduced breeding pool.