The Jakarta Post
The Riau Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA Riau) is searching for a family of Sumatran tigers that was seen recently by a farmer in a bid to protect them from poachers.
Warsan, a local farmer, saw two tiger cubs playing at his rubber plantation, not far from Tanah Datar village in Indragi Hulu regency, on Monday morning. He wanted to approach the cubs to verify that they were indeed tigers.
However, their mother suddenly came out from the bush, prompting Warsan to run away to the nearby village to report the finding to the village head.
The Sumatran tiger population on the island of Sumatra is currently decreasing as a result of deforestation and rampant poaching. The Sumatran tiger has been listed as critically endangered on the IUCN Red List since 2008.
Tanah Datar village head Dwi Rismawati went to the location of the sighting but did not find the tiger family.
“People are still afraid to go to their gardens,” she said on Thursday.
Dwi said she urged the people to stay alert as there was a similar report from a neighboring village.
The spokeswoman of BKSDA Riau, Dian Indriati, said a team had set up surveillance cameras to locate and monitor the tigers.
However, as of Wednesday, the conservation agency had yet to find traces of them, probably due to dry and hard soil conditions.
“The team did however find a fallen bush under an old tree trunk, which was probably used as a shelter by the tiger family,” Dian said, wondering if the tigers had roamed to other villages.
She advised villagers to avoid being outside alone, particularly when heading to plantations in the morning and afternoon.
“Our team is monitoring in the locations to prevent conflicts between the people and the tigers,” Dian said.
She urged people to not set up animal traps at their plantations or in nearby forests as the tigers were protected under the law.
“If the tiger cubs are trapped, the mother would be very angry,” Dian said. (das)