Taronga Western Plains Zoo is home to three Sumatran Tigers – Juara (18), Satu (7) and Indah (6). Sadly, Sumatran Tigers are a critically endangered species with estimates of less than 300 remaining in the wild today. It is projected that the extinction of the species in the wild will occur between 2015 – 2020, if threats to their survival don’t change. The illegal pet trade and poaching for skins and body parts for traditional medicines remain one of the big issues they face, but unsustainable palm oil production is the biggest issue facing Sumatran Tigers as well as Sumatran Orang-utans and many other species living in the same habitat.
Palm oil is a cheap oil to produce and approximately 80% of the world’s palm oil comes out of Indonesia and Malaysia. It is estimated that one in four products on Australian supermarket shelves contains palm oil, many from unsustainable sources. Palm oil is used in a variety of products including food items, shampoos and cosmetics.
Monday 29 July 2013 is Global Tiger Day and helps draw attention to the plight of these animals in the wild but also what you can do to help - every effort makes a difference. We are helping Sumatran Tiger conservation through our involvement in the global program run in conjunction with the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) to conduct research work in Berbak National Park about Sumatran Tigers as well as supporting Wildlife Protection Units in Bukit Tigapuluh Ecosystem National Park in Sumatra.
There are many ways you can help save such an amazing species like the Sumatran Tiger. One of the easiest ways is through your grocery shopping. Making sure the products you purchase are palm oil free or use sustainably-sourced palm oil is a simple way to make a difference – those products are out there! For more information click here and learn about making an informed choice when shopping and help save these amazing creatures.
Mel Friedman, Senior Sumatran Tiger Keeper