Sumatran Tigers May Face Extinction

Indonesia’s Sumatran tiger may well have the dubious distinction of being the first large predator to go extinct this century, unless rampant poaching and illegal trade are sharply curtailed. This is the grim conclusion of a report released this week by TRAFFIC, a network established by the World Wildlife Fund and the World Conservation Union to monitor illegal wildlife trade. Of the world’s eight tiger subspecies, three have gone extinct in the past 70 years; the remaining five are all endangered. Experts estimate that 500 Sumatran tigers remain alive in the wild. Tigers are caught and killed using rudimentary wire snares, often deep within national parks, and sold for their skins and body parts in an illegal trade industry that spans much of Asia. The report concludes by taking Indonesian officials to task: “Numerous sources indicate that a lack of political will at best, and widespread corruption at worst, hinders enforcement of trade and hunting bans.”