Bengkulu. Dara, a critically endangered Sumatran tiger rescued from a hunter’s trap in Bengkulu in February, has been transferred to the Taman Safari Indonesia park in Bogor, officials said on Monday.
“According to instructions from Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan, Dara is to be treated at TSI, so today we are moving her to Bogor,” said Amon Zamora, the Bengkulu Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA) chief.
The female tiger, estimated to be between 4 and 5 years old, was found by officials in a logging concession in Mukomuko district in February. Her front legs were seriously injured from the metal cables in which she was ensnared.
The trap was believed to have been set up by poachers.
A team of doctors had to amputate seven of Dara’s toes, three from her right paw and four from her left, veterinarian Erni Suyanti said.
But the tiger still requires a third and more complicated surgery to straighten bones protruding from her front paws.
“For this third operation, we will cooperate with French doctors who will also help fund the procedure,” Erni said.
Amron added that hospitals in Bengkulu did not have adequate medical facilities to ensure Dara’s recovery.
TSI is Indonesia’s biggest ex-situ conservation area, located in the Puncak highlands of Bogor. Amron said Dara was transported by plane from Fatmawati Airport in Bengkulu to Jakarta, where the tiger was then transported to the park by truck.
Conflicts between humans and tigers are frequent in Bengkulu as vast swaths of forests continue to be converted to logging concessions and plantations.
In the first three months of this year, the provincial BKSDA has already recorded two tiger deaths and six incidents of tiger-human conflicts.
Bengkulu’s first tiger death this year was a male, named Rajo by conservation staff, who had been rescued from a snare trap in the Bukit Daun protected forest in Lebong district.
When conservation staff found Rajo on Jan. 8, it seemed he had been left for dead by an unknown attacker who had beaten him with a blunt instrument. Despite medical care, Rajo eventually died.
The second tiger to die was discovered in Seluma district in February, dismembered and buried in an apparent attempt to hide the crime.
In the most recent conflict, residents of Alas Bangun village in North Bengkulu district reported being plagued by sightings of a tiger that had appeared in the vicinity of their village several times over a period of a few days in March.