Saturday, 13 July 2013

Sumatran tigers very sensitive to human disturbance

Tigers live at surprisingly low densities in Sumatra
July 2013. Sumatran tigers, found exclusively on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, are on the brink of extinction. By optimistic estimates, perhaps 400 individuals survive. But the exact the number and locations of the island's dwindling tiger population has been up for debate.

Very low density of tigers
Virginia Tech and World Wildlife Fund researchers have found that tigers in central Sumatra live at very low densities, lower than previously believed. 

The study suggests that high levels of human activity limit the tiger population. Researchers studied areas and habitat types not previously surveyed, which could inform interventions needed to save the tiger.

Sensitive to human disturbance
"Tigers are not only threatened by habitat loss from deforestation and poaching; they are also very sensitive to human disturbance," said one of the researchers, called Sunarto, (a native of Indonesia, where people typically have one name). "They cannot survive in areas without adequate understory, but they are also threatened in seemingly suitable forests when there is too much human activity."

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