As tigers decline, Indonesia targets poaching ring
- Indonesian authorities recently confiscated three tiger skins from a man in Sumatra.
- They believe the perpetrator is linked to a larger network of wildlife traffickers.
BANDA ACEH, Indonesia – Law enforcement works to disrupt a wildlife trafficking ring linked to a man arrested last month with the skin and bones of three critically endangered Sumatran tigers ‘extinction of which only a few hundred remain in the wild, the country’s forestry ministry announced last week.
Authorities also confiscated 9 kilograms of pangolin scales from the man, identified as AS.
“To stop the illegal trade in live animals and their body parts, you have to find the financier or the main buyer,” said Subhan, head of the North Sumatra bureau of the law enforcement division. of the ministry.
“But dismantling all of this is no easy task. Their network is quite solid.
One of Indonesia’s signature species, the Sumatran tiger (Panthera tigris sumatrae) struggled to survive amid the destruction of its forest habitat, which has been largely cleared for development, and the onslaught of poachers, who hunt for bones, skin, claws, teeth, blood and more more animals to use them in traditional medicines.
A 2015 Forest Ministry survey found that only 200 tigers remained in the Leuser ecosystem, which spans the northern provinces of Sumatra and Aceh.
In just one of many recent incidents, a mother tiger and her two cubs were found dead in a snare trap in Aceh in August.
“The main buyers of animal parts are very intelligent and difficult to detect,” said Panut Hadisiswoyo, the head of the Orangutan Information Network, an NGO that combats wildlife trafficking.
“They don’t get involved directly, but use very professional intermediaries.
AS faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a fine of 100 million rupees ($ 7,000) under the Conservation Act 1990. His case was transferred to the Aceh Attorney General’s office.
Separately, the Aceh police noted earlier this month, they arrested 11 men in connection with the killing of five elephants in January 2020. One of them, Edi Murdani, is a prominent wildlife trafficker who has already been jailed for a year and a half for his role in a tiger and pangolin trading system.
Banner: Tiger bones confiscated by authorities last month. Image courtesy of the Ministry of Forests.
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