Tigers are on the brink of extinction because only about 3,200 tigers are left in the world today, a report has said.

The still existing ones included six sub-species: Sumatran, Bengalese, Amurese, Indo-Chinese, South Chinese, and Malayan tigers, said the report released by the Indonesian Forestry Ministry yesterday, a day before delegates of 13 countries met for talks to save tigers here today.

The main threats facing the tigers around the world included damage of natural habitats, drastic decrease of natural predators, hunting and illegal trading, as well as conflicts between tigers and people living in the tigers’ habitat, the report said.

The Bali meeting, that would officially be opened by Minister of Forestry Zulkifli Hasan, was held before the World Tiger Summit in St Petersburg, Russia, from September 15 to 18, 2010.

In their a joint press statement, Chairman of the HarimauKita (Our Tiger) Forum Hariyo T Wibisono and Director of Bio-Diversity Conservation Harry Santoso said there are now only about 400 Sumatran tigers left.

These Sumatran tigers account for about 12 per cent of the world’s tiger population, making Indonesia a key country for tiger conservation in the world, they said.

“Ironically, the habitats of these Sumatran tigers have declined up to almost 50 per cent over the past 25 years.

About 70 per cent of their remaining habitats exist outside the conservation areas.”

Wibisono said the remaining habitats were located in 20 separated forests. This condition was vulnerable to the remaining tigers because they were not in good protection.

“To save these endangered Sumatran tigers, the entire stakeholders in Indonesia need to work together in taking concrete and effective conservation measures,” he said.

If not, the Sumatran tigers would follow the fates of Javanese and Balinese tigers, Wibisono said.

In paving the way for the Sumatran tiger conservation efforts, Executive Director of WWF-Indonesia Dr Efransjah said the remaining natural habitats should be saved.

The critical forest areas need also be restored and sustainable development-strategies should be put in place so that the tigers have enough habitats, he said.

“How to minimize potential conflicts between tigers and people should also be a common agenda for related parties,” he said.

Saving forests and Sumatran tiger habitats are relevant to the Indonesian government’s commitment to reduce carbon emission from deforestations and forest degradation, Efransjah said.