Gadih Liku, a Sumatran Tiger, Released to Wild
From its own habitat in Sumatra, Indonesia the current population of the Sumatran tigers (Panthera Tigris Sumatrae) has reportedly suffered a tremendous decrease and is now believed to be only less than 400. From six of the world’s known species, the Sumatran Tiger is the only surviving tiger specie that still exists.
Due to its diminishing habitat and food scarcity, the Sumatran Tiger now on the brink of extinction. Villagers of Pesisir Selatan District in West Sumatra feel very unsafe and terrified due to a young tigress that preys on their cattle and other sources of livelihood. Last June 10, 2016, these villagers made a trap and successfully caught the Sumatran Tiger. The tigress was then brought and rehabilitated at the Kinantan Wildlife and Cultural Park of Bukittinggi (Bukittinggi Zoo) for two months.
Prior to this incident, the Arsari Djojohadikusomo Foundation (YAD) in cooperation with the UK-based Aspinall Foundation, and the Conservation of Natural Resources Office (BKSDA) of West Sumatra have started preliminary studies leading to the creation of the Sumatran Tiger Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre of Dharmasraya or Pusat Rehabilitasi Satwa Harimau Sumatera Dharmasraya (PRS HSD). They have invited and engaged several NGOs as well as local educational institutions to do the study. Part of the study done by the Faculty of Biology of the University of Andalas in Padang was a survey of of the Kerinci Seblat National Parks (TNKS) which proves to be a potential site to release the tiger.
After its rehabilitation in Bukittinggi Zoo, “Gadih Liku” the name given to the young tigress by the Head of BKSDA was ready for release into the wild on 31 August 2016. Prior to its release, the tigress was subjected to physical and health examination which included a blood test. The tiger was given a GPS-activated collar donated by the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) for easy movement monitoring while in the wild. The GPS will remain active for two (2) years.
In the evening of August 30, 2016, Gadih Liku was transported through a steel cage to the Prof. Sumitro Djojohadikusomo’s conservation forest on the borders of TNKS. Prior to the release the said area had been inspected and cleared by the Indonesia Conservation Society (ICS) of meshes that were previously installed by the poachers.The team reached the site in the early morning of August 31 after more or less 10 hours of travel from Bukittinggi Zoo to Dharmasraya. The team placed black plastic sheets from the cage’s entrance into the woods to guide Gadih Liku’s path into the forest.
After the successful release of Gadih Liku, a thanksgiving ceremony was held wishing the young tigress’ safety and be able to continue to breed for the next generations. On the same occasion, prayers were also said to mark the commencement of the construction of the Sumatran Tiger Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre of Dharmasraya or Pusat Rehabilitasi Satwa Harimau Sumatra Damasraya (PRS-HSD).