Rare three-legged tiger photographed in Sumatra
July 6, 2007
A WWF camera trap has captured photos of a three-legged Sumatran tiger on the Indonesian island of Sumatra.
WWF says the rare tiger likely escaped from a snare. The big cat seems otherwise healthy.
The Sumatran tiger is the most critically subspecies of endangered tiger, with fewer than 400 individuals left in Sumatra, it last remaining refuge in the wild. Habitat loss and poaching threaten to send the tiger the way of Bali tiger (Panthera tigris balica) and the Java tiger (Panthera tigris sondaica), tiger subspecies that were driven to extinction in 1925 and 1972, respectively.
Camera traps are used to remotely and automatically capture pictures of wildlife. Movement trips a strategically located camera to snap a photo.
Today Sumatran tigers are threatened by poachers operating inside protected areas. Demand from China for tiger skins and “medicinal products”, as well as hunting for bushmeat and pest control, is driving the illegal trapping.
“It’s particularly upsetting that this happened inside a national park, where tigers are supposed to enjoy protection,” said WWF tiger biologist Sunarto.
“This tiger looks like he’s in good condition in our photos, but his future is uncertain. The Sumatran tiger population is at such low levels, we can’t afford to lose even one individual to a snare.”
WWF anti-poaching teams have confiscated 23 tiger-specific snares from Tesso Nilo National Park, Rimbang Baling Wildlife Reserve, and surrounding areas since 2005. Tesso Nilo is believed to be home to five tigers.