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Tigers continue killing rampage in Indonesia

Two more illegal loggers were attacked and killed Sunday night in Sungai Gelam district in Jambi Province on the island of Sumatra, reports the Jakarta Post. The deaths bring the total number of people killed by tigers in the province since January 24th to nine.

Most of the victims have been illegal loggers whose operations encroach on rapidly shrinking tiger habitat.

“It’s very concerning that those financing these logging operations continue sending workers into the forest despite the obvious dangers posed by these aggressive tigers,” head of Jambi Natural Resources Conservation Center (BKSDA) Didy Wurjanto told the Jakarta Post. Sumatra has lost more than half its forest cover to logging and oil palm plantations since the early 1980s.

Sumatran tiger. Photo by Rhett A. Butler

The Jakarta Post reports that only one tiger has been captured since the attacks started less than six seeks ago. That tiger, a female nicknamed Salma, is being held at the Jambi City Zoo. She will soon be fitted with a GPS and released into the wild.

The Sumatran tiger is now down to about 450 individuals in the wild, making it one of the rarest subspecies of tiger. The Javan, Bali, and Caspain subspecies went extinct last century.

The Sumatran tiger is imperiled from ongoing habitat destruction, overhunting of its prey, and poaching for its bones and skin for the traditional Chinese medicine market. More than 20 tigers are killed pe year to Sumatra to supply wildlife markets, according to TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network run by IUCN and WWF.

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