Barisan Selatan National Park comprises of 365,000 hectares of forest in the Bukit Barisan Mountains. Sumatran tigers, the Malayan tapir, elephant, Sumatran serow, siamang, agile gibbons, clouded leopards, wild dogs, reticulated pythons, water monitors, squirrels the size of large cats, a rare viable population of Sumatran rhinoceros; these are just a handful of the animals found here.
It is estimated that 9-13 males and 18-22 females live within Barisan Selatan National Park, but these have fragmented into five small groups. Fortunately their distance from one another is not so great that the groups cannot interact, and the habitat between them is quite suitable for tigers.
This National Park has major poaching problems. In the period between 1998-2000 sixty-six Sumatran tigers were killed; this is nearly 20 percent of the total Sumatran tiger population -- and 24 of them came from Bukit Barisan Selatan.
In an effort to control the problem, anti-poaching squads have been set up at Barisan Selatan, Way Kambas and Kerinci Seblat National Parks; these consist of a villager and three forestry officers. Very few arrests are ever made as the patrols fear retaliation, evidence is difficult to collect, and those few cases that make it to court receive light sentences on an equivalent with chicken stealing.
agricultural use and illegal logging is steadily eating into
park boundaries. Remote sensing is being used to establish
when there will no longer be enough habitat to sustain tigers, rhinos,
or tapirs. Already satellite imagery has shown tigers are being forced
into much smaller areas.
With Thanks To John White (Photo 2)