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Walking the tigers’ trail in Sumatra

January 24, 2024

The forests of Western Sumatra are home to an incredible abundance of species, from clouded leopards to sun bears, hornbills, and siamang monkeys; the lord of the jungle is the Sumatran tiger.

Tigers move about unseen in the forest but pug marks on the path and claw marks on trees are clear indications of who’s who in the jungle. Camera traps provided by Thin Green Line are invaluable for closely monitoring each tiger.

Sumatran tiger

Five rangers have been employed for a new patrol team, part of the Nagari Ramah Harimau (Tiger Friendly Village) initiative. Thanks to Thin Green Line’s supporters, the team received new uniforms as well as the remote surveillance cameras to help them with their diverse duties.

On regular patrols through known tiger habitat, the team monitor tiger activity, while also finding and removing snares to stop subsistence poaching.

Rangers installing a camera trap

Working closely with local communities, the rangers are able to minimise human-wildlife conflict – deterring the alpha predators from attacking livestock with the risk of retaliatory attacks by farmers.


“Our staff give engaging lessons about the important role of the forest and the animals living within. The team also spoke about tigers and orangutans, the danger they are in, and why we need to conserve these species. The students were very excited to learn about wildlife through pictures, videos, and a quiz.”

Rangers from International Tiger Project educate local children about conservation

Rangers participate in social and cultural events such as coffee harvesting, fishing, and meeting with elders.

Rangers also raise awareness in the local community and schools about the importance of tiger conservation and zoonotic diseases. A recent disease has reduced the number of bush pigs, which are a major food source for tigers. Unfortunately, this led to tigers moving into villages in search of livestock. Rangers have worked pro-actively to build tiger-proof corrals for cows. They have also escorted children to and from school if a tiger has been seen in the area. 

In 2023, the first female ranger joined the team, working side by side with the men on forest patrols.

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We believe the practical, direct action of rangers is the most necessary and effective way to overcome the environmental challenges of our time. Thin Green Line is a global not-for-profit conservation organisation.