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Last Updated: Thursday, 5 July 2007, 12:05 GMT 13:05 UK
Rare tiger 'escapes without paw'
Pawless Sumatran tiger (photo from WWF)
The tiger appears to be in good physical condition, WWF says
An endangered Sumatran tiger suspected of losing a paw to a snare has been photographed in Indonesia by the WWF.

The three-legged animal has been caught on camera twice roaming the forests of Tesso Nilo National Park in Sumatra.

Wildlife officials believe it is the same tiger that was caught in a snare last November - and managed to escape, leaving its front right paw behind.

Sumatran tigers are the most endangered tiger species in the world. Fewer than 400 are believed to remain in the wild.

WWF says it is now working with Tesso Nilo park authorities and villagers to raise awareness of the dangers of snares.

"It's particularly upsetting that this happened inside a national park, where tigers are supposed to enjoy protection," Sunarto, from the WWF in Indonesia, said in a statement.

Double threat

The tiger was photographed by WWF cameras in March and then again in May, in two separate parts of the national park.

On both occasions, the tiger appeared to be in a good physical condition, the statement added.

Pawless Sumatran tiger (photo from WWF)
This Sumatran tiger is one of less than 400 left in the world

WWF said staff believe it is the same animal that was caught in a snare in November 2006, and that he "somehow scratched or cut his paw off, to escape, leaving part of his leg behind in the snare".

Sunarto said that while the tiger looked like he was in good condition, "his future is uncertain".

"The Sumatran tiger population is at such low levels, we can't afford to lose even one individual to a snare," he said.

Sumatran tigers are only found on Sumatra, and have been threatened not only by poachers hunting them for the black market, but also because their habitat is increasingly being lost to agriculture and logging.

Keeping the Tesso Nilo National Park free from poachers and illegal land encroachments is crucial to their survival, WWF said.




SEE ALSO
Rare tiger mauls monitor camera
13 Dec 06 |  Asia-Pacific
Hunters 'threaten Sumatran tiger'
16 Mar 04 |  Science/Nature
Country profile: Indonesia
09 May 07 |  Country profiles

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