Australian Navy gives tiger conservation a lift

Sumatran tiger conservation has a squadron of new supporters following a visit to Fauna & Flora International’s partner Australia Zoo by the Australian Royal Navy’s Fighting Tigers.

As a long-term supporter and project partner of Fauna & Flora International (FFI), Australia Zoo donates funds to our tiger programme in Sumatra, Indonesia. These funds are vital to the continued operations of FFI’s Tiger Protection Conservation Unit (TPCU) Programme, operating in Kerinci Seblat National Park.

The eight-man crew from 816 squadron of HMAS Albatross at Nowra in New South Wales dropped into Australia Zoo to present a AUD $500 cheque for tiger conservation in Sumatra.

The Fighting Tigers are trained to “imitate the action of the tiger”, with individual officers and sailors raising money out of concern for the Critically Endangered species they aspire to emulate.

Bashii, one of six Sumatran tigers at Australia Zoo, was allowed a peek inside their 10-tonne chopper.

The Flying Tigers land at Australia Zoo to support FFI's tiger conservation programme Photo: Megan Slade Courtesy of The Courier Mail
The Flying Tigers land at Australia Zoo to support FFI's tiger conservation programme Photo: Megan Slade Courtesy of The Courier Mail

Australia Zoo international conservation manager Giles Clark said the squadron’s support comes at a crucial time in the fight to save the Critically Endangered species. “There are estimated to be fewer than 4,000 tigers remaining in the wild, and Sumatran tigers have the lowest numbers of all the sub-species,” Giles said.

“The donation from the Fighting Tigers will allow us to continue supporting FFI’s anti-poaching TPCUs, helping to save about 100 tigers.”

FFI works with the park authorities and local communities to strengthen protection through forest patrols and undercover investigations into illegal operations, combating the trafficking of tigers and tiger parts, resulting in the successful prosecution of dozens of poachers.

The TPCU team also conduct human-wildlife conflict mitigation, respond to wildlife emergencies and work to secure key tiger habitat outside the park.

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