Kerinci Seblat National Park (KSNP), 13,300km2 in west-central Sumatra, Indonesia, contains an estimated 145 adult tigers, which represents one of the largest tiger populations globally. However, tigers in KSNP are threatened directly by poaching and indirectly by illegal logging and poaching of their prey.
To address these problems and improve tiger conservation, a joint project has been established in collaboration between The Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology (DICE) and Fauna & Flora International (FFI)-Indonesia Programme.
The aim of this project is to support KSNP management by conducting scientific tiger assessments in and around KSNP and to raise awareness and generate strong community support for tiger conservation through outreach activities outside KSNP.
This project is now in its fourth year and the results for the year 2007-2008 are presented here.
Field surveys continued from previous years while taking longer than expected due to KSNP’s large size and the ruggedness of its terrain. However their completion remains a priority because the data collected will be used within the complementary Sumatra-wide surveys to produce the first rigorous Sumatran tiger population estimate.
Surveys were conducted within 88 grid cells (17 x 17 km) that cover KSNP and adjacent forest (see Figure 1). The sampling effort assigned to each grid cell is proportional to the amount of forest habitat contained within the cell. So, for example, a grid cell containing 100% habitat has a target effort of 40 km walked, whereas 50% has a target of 20 km walked, with a minimum effort of 5 km in cells with little habitat. Within each grid cell, the sampling effort is divided into 1 km segments (or sampling occasions) and the detection (1) and non-detection (0) of tiger is recorded for each occasion. So far, 37 grid cells have been surveyed with a sampling effort of 1312 km and a median cell survey effort of 36 km (min. = 13 km; max. = 68 km).
Tiger has been detected in 332 of the 1312 x 1 km segments surveyed. Overall, tigers have been detected in 37 out of the 37 cells, indicating a 100% occupancy.
Camera trapping was conducted in Ipuh, an area of primary/selectively logged lowland-hill forest that straddles the southern KSNP border (see Figure 2 for map). A total of 41 camera placements recorded 3255 camera trap nights. The data recorded was used to calculate relative species abundance. Also, using the standard capture-mark-recapture protocol, a tiger density of 1.55 adult individuals/100km2 was estimated.
These records were compared with those made the previous year in Bungo, a study area located outside the park boundary in primary-selectively logged hill-submontane forest.
Tiger density was found to be fairly similar at both places, but in fact higher at Bungo (2.95 adult individuals/100km2).
These results highlight the importance of Bungo, a currently unprotected area outside the park, for tiger and other wildlife conservation. As a result a new project was launched in partnership with local government to give formal protection to that area.
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Figure 1: Survey grid. Source: KSNP/FFI
Tiger indirect sign locations and field survey locations from 37 out of 88 grid cells surveyed from Project Year 3 and 4. Source: KSNP/FFI.
Figure 2: Camera traps locations. Source: KSNP/FFI
Camera surveys conducted in the primary-selectively logged hill-submontane forest of Bungo and primary-selectively logged lowland-hill forest of Ipuh in and around Kerinci Seblat National Park, showing inserts of camera trap locations. Source: KSNP/FFI