Friday, January 22, 2010

Sumatran Tigers Released Back To The Wild

Indonesia's Rare Wild Tigers Won’t Have to Change Stripes

After a lengthy rehabilitation process, two Sumatran tigers were released into the jungle on the southern tip of Sumatra island on Friday, on the newly declared National Day for Wildlife Conservation.

Panti, a six-year-old tigress, and Buyung, an eight-year-old tiger, are now roaming free in the 385,000-hectare Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park, joining an estimated 45 Sumatran tigers remaining there.

Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan pulled the rope that opened the cages, marking their release after 18 months of rehabilitation at a tiger rescue-center at the Tambling Wildlife Nature Conservation.

“Massive deforestation has decreased the tigers’ natural habitat and has prompted human-tiger conflicts when they would roam into villages in search of food,” Zulkifli said.

The Tambling Conservation, which comprises 45,000 hectares of the park, has been home for Panti, Buyung and four other members of the critically endangered species since they were relocated from South Aceh, where they were captured by villagers. The tigers had been kept in cages at the Aceh nature conservancy office before they were moved to Lampung.

Buyung and Panti — whose name is a shortened version of her species’ Latin name, Panthera tigris — ran off in different directions when their cages were opened, quickly disappearing into the bush.

Chips were implanted into the tigers to allow the monitoring of their movements.

Earlier on Friday in Jakarta, Vice President Boediono declared January 22 National Day for Wildlife Conservation.

“Giving room to rare species is our task together,” he said
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