West Sumatra Tiger Team forging ahead

Thanks to our incredible supporters all over the world, our West Sumatran Tiger Team is now a strong presence in West Sumatra - and even in North Sumatra too! 

The team is still quite new, but during the past ten months that they’ve been operating, generous donors like you have contributed funds to strengthen tiger conservation in West Sumatra. The team patrols the Nagari Sontang forest, instals camera traps, educates school children, engages with community members and government officials, instals signage to protect tigers, and many more activities. To be part of the team, donate today!

The team patrols the forest twice a month to protect the forest, and the wildlife who live there, from activities such as illegal logging and poaching. We’ve hired and trained five local community members to be rangers as part of this team. On every trek they find evidence of a wide range of wildlife, such as droppings and footprints of tapirs, carnivores and deer, and scratch marks on the trees from sun bears and tigers. They also listen for the songs of siamangs and find evidence of hornbills and other critically endangered species. 

Sadly, they’ve also found evidence of palm oil, cacao, coffee, and cinnamon plantations inside the forest. On a number of occasions, they’ve heard the sound of chainsaws cutting down trees. In September the team found massive tree logs that had been cut for illegal logging, as well as evidence of trees cut for a new local plantation inside the protected forest. It’s always distressing to find beautiful rainforest trees cut down, and parts of the forest that have been destroyed, but that’s why the presence of these brave rangers is so vital. You can support their work with a donation today.

The team also visited a number of elementary schools in Sontang Cubadak Village, where they taught young children about the role of the forest and the animals who live there. They shared information about Sumatran tigers and orangutans and why we need to conserve these species. The students were very excited to learn about wildlife through pictures, videos, and a fun-filled quiz. They also educated the children about the importance of contacting authorities or the Tiger Team if they see any wildlife entering their village, and not to approach the wildlife themselves. 

At the end of last year the Tiger Team transformed their head office into an information and education centre in Sontang Cubadak Village. The office now has information about what the team is doing in the area, including why they undertake forest patrols and some pictures of wildlife they’ve photographed on camera traps in the forest. We hope this office can be a public space for locals to learn about wildlife conservation; local people are invited regularly to come and ask questions, discuss any issues they’re facing, and learn about our work in West Sumatra.

A further step we’ve taken to give the team strong local connections is to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA) of West Sumatra. This MoU will strengthen our collaboration in the conservation of big cats in West Sumatra. Stay tuned to find out more about this dynamic team in the coming months!

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