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Sumatran tigers could be saved through cultural approach, activist says

News Desk

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Thu, August 8, 2019  /  03:33 pm
Sumatran tigers could be saved through cultural approach, activist says

The Sumatran tiger is the only surviving tiger species in Indonesia. (Shutterstock/Steve Wilson )

Around 600 Sumatran tigers could be saved using a cultural approach.

According to Antara news agency, UNDP Sumatran Tiger Management Unit – Tiger Project spokesman Hizbullah Arief said on Tuesday that local folktales prove that our ancestors lived peacefully with wild animals, including Sumatran tigers.

Hizbullah said that based on Sumatran tiger conservation books, our ancestors had no choice but to adapt to the environment, resulting in the solution of living side by side with wild animals.

He explained that in most cultures in Sumatra, tigers were seen as a top predator in the food chain.

Therefore, he suggested that the community and stakeholders comprehensively see the connection between culture and the efforts to increase the population of Sumatran tigers.

Hizbullah shared examples of the tiger-man myth in Kerinci, Jambi, and a tradition called Nganggah Harimau, in which the spirit of a tiger can be summoned.

Read also: Rare Sumatran tiger found dead in Indonesia

He added that local communities respected the wild animals by giving tigers a nickname, such as silek harimau, datuk and ompunk.

With that in mind, Hizbullah said if the cultures were preserved, it could help to solve the issue of the Sumatran tiger’s dwindling population.

The Sumatran tiger is the only surviving tiger species in Indonesia.

Sumatran Tiger Project national project manager Rudijanta Tjahja Nugraha said the endangered species currently lived in 23 forest areas, including conservation and non-conservation areas.

Meanwhile, the Environment and Forestry Ministry's director general of natural resource and ecosystem conservation (KSDAE), Wiratno, said at least 3,000 traps were set by poachers posing a threat to wild animals, including Sumatran tigers. (jes/wng)

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