Wildlife Crime and Detection in Berbak National Park
Poaching of tigers and their prey, as well as killing of tigers in response to conflicts, are the
two major causes of Sumatran tiger deaths at human hands. ZSL has now set up two
“Wildlife Conflict and Crime Response Teams” (WCCRTs) to address key threats to tigers
including poaching, illegal trading and other human-wildlife conflict.
Anti Poaching Activities
The Wildlife Conflict and Crime Response Teams (WCCRT) and ZSL’s field teams carry out snare sweeping surveys in Berbak National Park to clear snares set for deer, pigs, and potentially tigers
Tiger caught in snare
A four day sweep of the area discovered 15 snares, mostly in close proximity to the river as the forest is difficult to move around in. During one of these sweeps ZSL’s field team discovered the fully intact remains of a tiger. The snare was placed near one of our cameras which are designed to photograph wild tigers and so the date of the death was established to within one month.
Additional snares sweeps along with more frequent and focused patrolling efforts are now being developed and coordinated between ZSL/WCCRT and the National Park.
Both the WCCRT teams have now received training in collecting evidence on how effective law enforcement is whilst patrolling and will be receiving training in the new SMART software in the near future. SMART is a new and improved tool for measuring, evaluating and improving the effectiveness of wildlife law enforcement patrols and site-based conservation activities and is being developed for use around the world by a collection of Non Government Organisations including ZSL.
Click here to find out more about SMART software
Conflict Resolution Activity
The WCCRT have attended eight tiger human conflict, tiger protection and potential crime incidences in the last year, three of which resulted in tigers including two tiger cubs being rescued and a tigress being found in a snare, treated and released
Tiger captures for conflict resolution The most dramatic new and emerging direct threat to tigers of 2011 was the discovery of deadly high voltage electric fences. A large male tiger was electrocuted on the edge of the park by a high-voltage electric fence set up to protect community-owned agricultural farms from deer and pig.
Steps are now being taken to replace these fences with safer alternatives. The WCCRT worked alongside the community, senior villagers and district members to draft a local district level regulation to ban the use of these high voltage deadly fences. The WCCRT have also set up tiger-friendly (i.e. not fatal) electric fences in three villages for testing, hoping to provide clear evidence to communities that these fences work, deterring pests such as wild pigs while posing no threat of death to tigers, or indeed humans.
Global Positioning System (GPS) Collaring Study
Permission has been obtained from the Ministry of Forestry for wild tigers to be fitted with GPS collars so that they can be tracked. This provides vital information on tiger movements and use of landscape in the region. Three GPS tiger collars are now ready for use and tiger monitoring has been put in place at suitable sites to establish the best locations for tiger captures. Local Forestry Department approved veterinarians have been trained to assist with the capture, sedation, health check and release and are now available when required.
In other news...
- WCCRT has set up in South Sumatra in Sembilang National Park. 8 staff have been employed as well as community hotline for reporting of tiger issues
- The WCCRT publicity campaign continues in the villages in Jambi Province with posters explaining the role of the WCCRT. In 2013 a calendar – a popular item locally - will be distributed to homes and government offices to publicise the work of the WCCRT
- WCCRT took part in the International Tiger Day celebrations on 29th of July 2012