Threats to Tigers
Despite being fully protected by Indonesian law, wild Sumatran tigers continue to face significant threats.
Tigers are poached for medicine, conflict, magic and as novelties. Forests, the tiger’s home, have vanished; felled in favour of profits from plantation and timber industries.
As long as man pushes further in to tiger territory, and tigers and people continue to compete for space and food, human-tiger conflict can only mount - as will the likelihood of tiger extinction in our lifetimes.
Wild tiger populations have reduced dramatically in number. They have fragmented into many small populations across Asia and are still declining almost everywhere.
The struggle between humans and tigers has long been a serious problem in Sumatra and many people, especially illegal loggers, have been killed or wounded by tigers.
Originally tigers were being poached primarily on the edges of forests, in regions near villages where they come into conflict with people. However, poachers are gradually going further and hunting deep within national parks.
Most Sumatran tigers are killed by professional or semi-professional hunters operating individually or in small groups. They are killed primarily with inexpensive and simple to make wire cable leg-hold snares. The wire snares which catch and kill Sumatran tigers are sometimes intended to catch other species, and the tiger dies by accident.
ZSL saving the Sumatran tiger
ZSL is dedicated to protecting the last strongholds of the noble tiger. With just 300 Sumatran tigers left in the wild, ZSL wants to take action to ensure this vulnerable sub-species does not face the same fate as the Bali, Caspian and Javan tigers, now lost to the world forever.
But as a charity we rely on the generosity of our supporters to help us save the Sumatran tiger.
Medicine and magic
Tiger parts have long been used in Asian systems of traditional medicine and magic purposes. Tiger skins, claws and canine teeth are valued as novelties and sold as souvenirs.
The majority of tigers are killed because of the value of their bones and other parts. Even though poachers can face imprisonment and fines, poaching is still rife in Sumatra.
Loss of habitat
It is estimated that tiger habitats have contracted to just 7% of their former size.
In Southeast Asia, the remaining forests that tigers share with elephants, rhino, hornbills, tapirs and many more species are regarded by government as real estate.