The struggle between humans and tigers has long been a serious problem in Sumatra and many people have been killed or wounded by tigers.
As plantations and logging concessions remove forest and villagers push their cultivated areas further and further into the tigers’ habitat, the number of conflicts increases.
As long as tigers and people continue to compete for space and sustenance the issue will continue. Areas near newly settled villages are quickly emptied of the tiger’s main prey species, especially deer and pig.
Any tiger that attacks humans, preys on livestock, takes up residence in farmland or moves into a village is likely to be considered a ‘problem tiger’ and killed by villagers trying to protect themselves and their livelihoods.
Villagers attempting to deal with these problems on their own often use poisoned bait to eliminate the unwanted predators. However, poachers often come to a village offering to kill problem tigers and sometimes a community may hire a professional hunter to destroy them.
High levels of human-tiger conflict will continue to threaten the Sumatran tiger unless greater effort is made to preserve tiger territories, or we change the attitudes driving human-tiger conflict. Public education is important for this.
ZSL’s Berbak National Park anti-poaching unit not only protects tigers and detects poaching, but also conducts community education and outreach programmes to minimise conflict between humans and tigers. The Tiger SOS campaign is raising money to expand and develop the unit's work.
Give Tigers a Tomorrow
Visit Tiger Territory at ZSL London Zoo and your ticket will help ZSL to continue working in Sumatra to save this charismatic carnivore.