Study suggests Indonesia's Javan tiger may still exist

ISTANBUL – A recent study has suggested that Indonesia’s Javan tiger may still exist.

The Javan and Bali tiger species were declared extinct in 2008 and 2013, respectively, with the Sumatran subspecies remaining "extant in Indonesia," according to the study by the National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN) and published last week by Cambridge Press.

Researchers were prompted to look into any traces of the Javan tiger after a villager reported seeing the big cat near the village of Cipendeuy in the forest of South Sukabumi in West Java in 2019.

They also discovered a "single hair" on a nearby fence that was investigated.

Following an "in-depth interview" with Ripi Yanur Fajar, who saw the tiger, the researchers said they "believed" the hair was from a Javan tiger.

The hair sample was then handed over to geological staff conducting research in the area and forwarded to the West Java Nature Conservation Authority (BKSDA), the study said.

Later, Indonesia’ National Research and Innovation conducted genetic analysis, along with several hair strands from Sumatran tigers in North Sumatra province for comparison.

The findings suggested a close relationship to Indonesia's native Javan tiger, which differed from other tiger species and the Javan leopard.

"From this comprehensive DNA analysis, we conclude that the hair sample from South Sukabumi belongs to the Javan tiger and that it falls in the same group as the Javan tiger museum specimen collected in 1930," the study noted.

This finding underscores the need for "further genetic and field studies" to confirm the existence of Javan tigers in the wild zone due to the lack of "conclusive evidence."

The last survey, conducted in 1999-2000, discovered no tigers but did record "some prey species and many poachers." (Anadolu)