Jeremy is a photographer and field biologist who has worked in association with Fauna & Flora International since 1995. He specialises in camera trapping rare and cryptic animals in the rainforests of Southeast Asia.
WARNING: this article is of a graphic and disturbing nature and may cause distress to some readers.
In a gruesome incident in August, a Sumatran tiger was trapped and killed in Sumatra’s Kerinci Seblat National Park.
As tigers slowly vanish from more areas across their range, Kerinci remains a stronghold for this Critically Endangered predator. In recent years, committed conservation work by Fauna & Flora International’s (FFI) Sumatran Tiger Conservation Programme has allowed tiger numbers in the park to increase.
We know this thanks to the work of the FFI/Panthera Tiger Monitoring Team. But in August this year the team made the grim discovery of tiger remains in a hunters’ camp situated deep within the park. The hunters fled as the team arrived at their camp, but left behind the skin and bones of a recently snared tiger.
This beautiful wild tiger was carved up into meat, skin and bones. Credit: FFI.
“My team is used to collecting data of a more positive kind, so this was a disturbing incident for us,” said Yoan Dinata, head of the Tiger Monitoring Team.
“The team recovered both the skin and bones of the tiger, but more disturbingly we found the remains of the tiger’s flesh, which was discarded in the forest near the camp. We knew this particular tiger, a large male, and had recorded it many times on camera traps. To see it reduced from a beautiful wild animal to a pile of meat and guts made us all very angry.
“We have established a very effective conservation and monitoring programme in Kerinci, but this latest incident proves that tiger poaching, despite the risks, is still active in the park,” he added.
“The Tiger Monitoring Team is working alongside the Tiger Protection & Conservation Units to provide vital data on Sumatran tiger population trends within the park,” explained Debbie Martyr, Team Leader of the Sumatran Tiger Conservation Programme.
“Efficient monitoring is an essential part of any protection work; we need to know whether the job we are doing is having a positive impact on tiger numbers in Kerinci, and the monitoring work provides a reliable source of information that helps inform our ranger teams of what needs to be done and where.”
“It is clear from this latest incident that we still have a battle on our hands,” Debbie added. “Poachers, and the traders that fund them, are committed to hunting tigers. This gives our rangers a greater commitment to try and stop them.”