The Jakarta Post
A 5-year-old Sumatran tiger lost a leg after getting caught by a trap set by residents in Batu Madinding village, Batang Natal district, Mandailing Natal, North Sumatra.
The tiger hailing from the Batang Gadis National Park (TNBG) underwent a leg amputation conducted by three veterinarians.
TNBG Center head Bambang Herianto said the team of veterinarians carried out the procedure at the TNBG Center in Mandailing Natal regency on Monday evening.
'Her leg was in poor condition for almost a week. For the sake of her well-being, we decided to amputate her leg with the help of a veterinarian from Australia,' Bambang told The Jakarta Post on Tuesday.
Bambang said the female tiger's condition had gradually improved following the surgery. He added that the TNBG Center planned to hand over the tiger to a conservation institute, such as a zoo, or safari park, after she became stable.
'Releasing the tiger back to her habitat is impossible because she has lost a leg,' said Bambang.
Bambang said the tiger was a victim of animal-human conflict as residents living around TNBG had often set traps to protect their village from attacks by wild animals, such as tigers and bears.
'There are around six villages located around TNBG whose residents are often involved in conflicts with wild animals. Residents have become anxious because the wild animals frequently invade their villages,' said Bambang.
He added that the current Sumatran tiger population in TNBG stood at between 10 and 19 tigers.
According to data from 2006 to 2014, eight people living in villages located around TNBG had been mauled to death by tigers.
Bambang said the tigers had trespassed human settlements as their cruising range and habitat had been encroached by humans.
He acknowledged that many of the forest reserves in TNBG had been converted by residents into rubber farms.
TNBG currently spans 72,150 hectares, having declined from three years ago when it spanned 108,000 hectares.
Padang Sidempuan Conservation and Natural Resources Affairs head Subhan said the decreasing area of TNBG had resulted in the depletion of Sumatran tigers' food sources, leading them to venture out of their habitat and invade human settlements in search of food.
'Sumatran tigers often venture out of the TNBG area to seek food in villages because its habitat corridor has been damaged by illegal loggers, thus prompting human-animal conflict,' said Subhan.
Besides conflict with humans, the declining number of Sumatran tigers is also due to rampant hunting.
A joint team of officers from the North Sumatra Police and a forest rangers' quick response unit from the Mount Leuser National Park recently cracked a syndicate trading Sumatran tiger skins, following the arrest of four suspects during a transaction in a hotel in Binjai.
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