Sumatran tiger (Panthera tigris sumatrae)
The Sumatran tiger (Panthera tigris sumatrae) is one of six sub-species of the Tiger (Panthera tigris), all of which are either endangered or critically endangered. The Sumatran tiger is listed as critically endangered by the ICUN, and is managed in Australia and New Zealand through the Zoo Aquarium Association (ZAA), Australasian Species Management Program (ASMP). The ZAA program provides the maximum possible support for the conservation of Sumatran tigers in the wild via:
- An assurance population against extinction in the wild;
- A potential source population for demographic and/or genetic supplementation in the event of severe decline in the wild;
- As a source population for research that may benefit the conservation of wild tigers or improve our understanding of the species;
- As a source population for training activities that may benefit the management of wild tigers (e.g., capture techniques that can be applied to conflict tigers);
- As a charismatic species for exhibition and education programs to increase awareness of human impacts on wildlife and inspire support of conservation activities and actions; and
- As ambassadors for fund-raising efforts for in situ conservation projects that benefit wild tigers and their habitats.
The Sumatran tiger is the smallest of all Tiger species and are generally solitary animals.
A risk assessment has been undertaken for the Sumatran tiger. It concluded that the risk posed by importing Sumatran tiger into Tasmania is serious. Serious risk level for this species is based on – threat to humans and livestock. Risk of establishment is negligible due to in appropriate climatic conditions.
As part of the import assessment process and following the initial risk assessment – consideration was given to possible mitigation to reduce the risk associated with importing the Sumatran tiger.
- Restricting importation to only wildlife parks or zoos to ensure the holding facility meets the stringent keeping standards of New South Wales, which Tasmania has applied consistently across all wildlife parks, in the absence of National Guidelines.
- Requiring any wildlife park or zoo to ensure that the wildlife park is secured by a lockable perimeter fence that meets Australian Standards and the Standards for Exhibiting Animals in NSW.
- Requiring any wildlife park or zoo to submit a Sumatran tiger Species Management Plan (including enclosure detail) prior to import.
- The wildlife exhibition facility can clearly demonstrate they have proficient keepers for that particular species.
It should be noted that in the past the Department’s standard procedure for considering the importation of animals was essentially that most species that were assessed as ‘serious risk’ would be permitted into the State with appropriate mitigation measures. The mitigation measures essentially are enforced through the Exhibition Licence and hence in the past, licenced exhibitors have generally received approval for importation of animals assessed as ‘serious risk’.