LAMANRIAU.COM, PEKANBARU – The Ministry of Environment and Forestry said two Sumatran tigers (panthera tigris sumatrae) named Bonita and Atan Bintang were ready to be released into their habitat in Riau Province.
In a press statement on Monday, the Ministry of Environment and Forestry (KLHK) along with the Sumatran Tiger Rehabilitation Center Dharmasraya – Arsari Foundation Djojohadikusumo (PR-HSD Arsari Foundation) has conducted a series of rescue processes for the tigers so they are now ready to release the two endangered species.
“Animal conservation can be successful if all parties work together. Statement note from the Sumatran tiger PVA shows that the population of Sumatran tigers in their natural habitat has left 603 individuals scattered in 23 habitats. In addition, statement note from the Directorate General of KSDAE shows that more than 50 percent of the population of protected animals is outside conservation areas, both in production forests and protected forests,” said KLHK Director General of Natural Resources and Ecosystem Conservation (KSDAE) Wiratno.
The female Sumatran tiger named Bonita was rescued from the plantation area of PT TH Indo Plantations in Tanjung Simpang Village, Pelangiran District, Indragiri Hilir Regency on January 3, 2018, while a male Sumatran tiger named Atan Bintang was evacuated from a residential settlement on November 18, 2018 on Bird Island in Indragiri Hilir Regency.
In total, with the release of a pair of tigers, the number of rehabilitating tigers from PR-HSD will be released into four natural habitats. Bonita and Atan Bintang will be taken on a journey through the land route to the conservation area in Riau Province to return to their habitat.
“For this reason, safeguards are important to be carried out by all parties such as concession managers, local governments, indigenous peoples and NGOs. We hope that from now on, protected wildlife, including Sumatran tigers outside the conservation area, can be protected like other wildlife in the conservation area. The spirit of working together is the key to further synergy,” he said.
Hashim Djojohadikusumo, initiator and founder of PR-HSD, explained that his party is committed to continue helping the government to preserve and increase the population of the Sumatran tiger. Since it was inaugurated by the Minister of LHK on 29 July 2017, PR-HSD has rehabilitated six individual tigers which were later released into their natural habitat.
“At present we are still treating one Sumatran tiger that has just been rescued from Padang Lawas, North Sumatra. The Sumatran tiger is a symbol of ecosystem preservation and its existence is only possible if the forest and environment as habitat are still maintained,” he said.
Head of the Riau Center for Natural Resources Conservation (BKSDA) Suharyono explained that his team and partners had conducted a study for prospective Sumatran tiger release sites.
“We consider remote release locations from settlements and communities, sufficient availability of prey, and low threat levels. “The release of Sumatran tigers in Riau Province is expected to restore the population of Sumatran tigers in this region to preserve Sumatran tigers in their natural habitat,” he said.
Head of the West Sumatra KSDA Office, Erly Sukrismanto, added that the release of the two tigers was completed with a GPS collar donated by the Arsari, Djojohadikusumo Foundation to monitor the movements of Bonita and Atan Bintang. From the GPS Collar data, movement of animals will be known to see the range and adaptation of the tiger in its new habitat.
“The West Sumatra Regional Office of the KSDA together with the Riau KSDA Office which will monitor the Sumatran tiger is post-release,” he said. (ant)