Critically Endangered in the wild, the Sumatran tiger (Panthera tigris sumatrae) is managed by five ex situ regional programmes – EAZA, ZAA, AZA, JAZA and PKBSI – with a total of 375 tigers held globally. A WAZA Global Species Management Plan (GSMP) was established for the Sumatran tiger in 2008, and held its inaugural meeting in Indonesia in 2010. The second meeting of the GSMP committee was hosted by Dreamworld in Australia on 2–3 March 2012, and was attended by species coordinators and advisors from all five regional programmes.
The global ex situ population represents about 95% gene diversity contributed by 37 founders. The four populations outside of Indonesia each retain less than 90% gene diversity and are descended, for the most part, from the same founders, emphasising the importance of the range country population in Indonesia for bolstering both regional and global population viability. The GSMP committee discussed regional and global population goals, strategies and needs, and identified actions to address these needs. These include a few selected breedings and inter-regional transfers of tigers to demographically and genetically strengthen regional populations.
Other opportunities for inter-regional cooperation include collaborative research efforts and in situ conservation support. There is already considerable zoo involvement in Sumatran tiger conservation, demonstrated most recently by a veterinary training workshop for tiger conflict resolution held at Taman Safari Indonesia in January 2012 with support from ZSL and the UK government. This workshop was part of a process that hopefully will soon culminate in the production of the official Indonesian guidelines for the management of conflict tigers.
As one of the first GSMPs, the structure and administration of the Sumatran tiger GSMP is serving as a test case for the further development of the GSMP framework by WAZA’s Committee for Population Management (CPM).
Malcolm Fitzpatrick – GSMP Convenor / Ligaya Tumbelaka – GSMP Co-convenor / Kathy Traylor-Holzer -GSMP Population Management Advisor
The World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) is the global alliance of regional associations, national federations, zoos and aquariums, dedicated to the care and conservation of animals and their habitats around the world.