Sumatra's Last Tigers

Ferocious cats are being hunted into extinction by poachers.
2:44 | 02/29/12

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Transcript for Sumatra's Last Tigers
For the tiger stripes are not fashion they're function -- camel option but what happens when they -- starts to disappear around the tiger. And what happens when those killer cats start turning tooth and claw against their human neighbors. Here's ABC's Stephanie -- Four. A man -- is on the loose in the forests of Sumatra. Eight people killed in a spate of attacks over just two months the victims' bodies -- -- Terrorist threats on the small Indonesian island and the pressure to find the killer mountains. The Sumatran tiger. This one of the most aggressive big cats on the planet and it's built to kill. With the largest -- of any land based. Predator. Apex -- unit and alone they won't read it will eliminate the only thing but -- that is -- Only 400. Of these top carnivores remain in the wild. -- habitat has been decimated by illegal logging operations in large scale palm oil production. With less jungle remaining to frau let's pray. Is left to eat. In the wild they rely on large prey populations and the ability to hunt on a regular basis so that right. Tigers themselves are suffering because of lack of -- As humans exploit the riches of the forest it means more contact with hungry tigers. May be starting to seem men as their next meal. The rash of attacks has park Rangers on the hunt for a man either. He set a trap and baited with live prey. By -- they've captured an aggressive adult tigris. Produced sheet demand killer. There's no physical proof that the Rangers take her -- nonetheless. In a cage she becomes a zoo attraction. For most it's the only way to -- -- live Sumatran -- so rare happy and content in the wilds. Conservationists worry they'll go the way of the tigers in Bali and -- before them extinct. -- go through a massive decline over 95%. Decline in that population. In the last hundred years. Illegal poaching is another reason for their decline and in -- Montrae accounts for 78%. Of tiger deaths. While some researchers believe captive breeding ensures the survival of the species. -- say it distracts from the real solution to both saving tiger and human lives. The solution for tiger is he's big challenge but it's not a complex challenge what we just needed to secure areas. That we allowed to leave -- homes. So basically if you give them enough praise him enough space. Tigers will not choose to hunt. And that means protecting their home. The forests for some the tiger that was caught and perhaps wrongly accused. Of captivity has led to weight gain and declining health. She's moved to another facility that is supposed to prepare captive bred tigers for life in the wild. In a re hearing controversial practice they -- wife prayed to the tigers to keep their hunting skills sharp. Try as they might not a single tiger bred in captivity has survived after being released in the wild. They just not competitive animals anymore. So when you put back into the -- -- -- -- kill them they come in more -- contact with people which often ends badly for -- right now. The brutal attacks on humans continue to wall sound it is in captivity and the death -- from tiger attacks reaches a historic high. Shocking even the scientists. But it also means that -- probably wasn't the killer after all at least she's to house safe from poachers. But for the dwindling population of this magnificent tiger. The future has never been more uncertain. For Nightline I'm Stephanie -- in New York. So much was last tigers this Thursday on that -- -- thanks to Stephanie.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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