Camera Trap Captures Three-Legged Sumatran Tiger
JAKARTA -- An endangered Sumatran tiger that lost one of its paws, probably while trying to escape from a snare, has been photographed in an Indonesian wildlife park, global conservation group WWF said on Friday.
The Sumatran tiger is on the verge of extinction because of illegal poaching and a shrinking habitat, with fewer than 400 left in the world, WWF data shows.
The tiger was captured twice on camera -- once in March and again in May -- roaming the forests of the Tesso Nilo national park on Sumatra island with the lower half of his right front leg missing, said a WWF official, Sunarto.
"We suspect it to be the same tiger who reportedly was caught in a snare in November last year, but cut its paw off to escape, leaving that part of the leg in the scene," Sunarto told Reuters.
Tesso Nilo is one of 45 protected areas in Indonesia, among the few countries in the world that still has vast swathes of tropical rainforests left.
Sunarto said snares represent a big threat to tigers and elephants in the national park.
"Together with the government's conservation agency we have confiscated over 100 snares, and most of them were placed inside the protected areas of the national park," he said.
Twenty-three of the snares were found to specifically target tigers, the rest were used for animals such as wild boar and sambar deer, WWF said.
Aside from illegal hunting and poaching, the tiny populations of rare tigers and elephants in the protected area of 38,576 hectares (96,400 acres) are also threatened by land clearance for small-holder palm oil plantations and agriculture, Sunarto said.
"Only a dozen adult tigers are estimated to live in this park," Sunarto said. "If we don't stop this, they will soon be gone."