Javan Tiger PhotoA 12-month survey of Javan tigers and their prey in Meru Betiri National Park in eastern Java was completed in 2000 by PKA authorities. Meru Betiri represents habitat in which some of the last reports of the supposedly extinct Javan tiger have emanated. More recent sightings by park staff and local people have lead to the re-emergence of the possibility that the Javan tiger still exists. To finally put the rumors to rest, twelve national park personnel were trained in 1999, and 20 cameras purchased. Operations in this park were initiated following a direct request from the chief of the park, Bapak Indra Arinal, and were supported by the Director of Conservation of Flora and Wildife, Bapak Ir. Koes Saparjadi. The Tiger Foundation also donated 15 infrared cameras to the park in order to facilitate future census efforts.

The most appropriate contribution that the Sumatran Tiger Project could make was identified as training in relevant tiger monitoring and census techniques to the park staff. Since remote camera monitoring was considered to be the most appropriate method available, considerable attention was paid to developing technical knowledge in this discipline, as well as other essential field tools such as the GPS receiver and computer based mapping of field observations. Activities included class-based theoretical workshops, field application and a final field orientation to install remote cameras at preliminary sites. The results of this census: no tigers, few prey, and lots of poachers.

Photo from: A. Hoogerwerf's Udjung Kulon: The Land of the last Javan Rhinoceros. Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers. 1970. This photo of a Javan tiger is all we have left of a subspecies of tiger which has become extinct in the fairly recent past.