Lethal, home-made electric fencing that has killed critically endangered Sumatran tigers is being replaced with safe solar powered fences by the Zoological Society of London (ZSL).
Homemade electrical fencing is used by some villages in an effort to preserve their crops from animals such as wild boar. Without the resources to purchase safe equipment, villagers strip wire of its protective plastic, creating live wire that sends out dangerously high voltages. This has not only killed local wildlife but has also reportedly caused the death of local people.
“King Arthur” a Sumatran tiger previously tracked by ZSL conservationists on camera traps was killed by such a fence.
ZSL Tiger Conservation Manager, Iding Achmad Haidir, said: “This is a novel project for a win-win solution for both tigers and farmers in Greater Berbak Ecosystem. We have been working together with Berbak National Park authority, BKSDA (province-level natural resource conservation agency) Jambi and District Government of Tanjung Jabung Timur to encourage the issue of village law and or Bupati (Head of District) regulation to ban conventional electric fence in the area.
“Currently we are monitoring effectiveness of the fence by setting up camera trap in certain points. We are on the right track towards establishment of safer and animal friendly electric fencing system in the area".
If the two tests sites prove successful, ZSL is set to expand the project and raise community awareness beyond the test areas.