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Indonesian raids on tiger traffickers yielding arrests in Sumatra

Raid on tiger traffickers yields 4 arrests in Sumatra

Indonesian raids on tiger traffickers yielding arrests in Sumatra
September 2, 2008

A raid on illegal tiger traders in Indonesia resulted in four arrests in Sumatra, reports the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS).

The arrests come under a new crack-down by Indonesian authorities on the sales of tiger parts. 10 traffickers have been arrested in the past 3 months.

The Indonesian Government is committed and to stopping illegal wildlife trade and strengthening its commitments to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). We are seeking to put a stop to the capture, possession and trade of protected wildlife in Indonesia” Said Djati Wicaksono, Head of the PHKA Office of Natural Resource Conservation in Medan, who led the raid.

Tiger skin confiscated by police in Aceh, Sumatra (June 2008). Copyright WCS

Tigers are critically endangered in Indonesia due to habitat loss, killing as vermin, and poaching for their parts, which are used in traditional medicine and sold as souvenirs. Fewer than 1,000 individual tigers are left in Sumatra and two subspecies — the Bali tiger (Panthera tigris balica) and the Java tiger (Panthera tigris sondaica) — have already been driven to extinction.

“Tiger poaching and trade is a massive threat to the survival of this iconic animal,” said Dr Noviar Andayani, Director of the WCS Indonesia Program which helped establish the program that investigates and prosecutes wildlife crimes. “The long-term survival of this species will require effective action to control illegal poaching, to reduce habitat loss, and to prevent conflict between tigers and local people.”

“While the threat of extinction of tigers is often talked about, preventing this from happening requires real action on the ground such as we are seeing in Indonesia now,” he continued. “In the areas of Sumatra where we have worked hardest and longest we are starting to see indications that the tiger population is finally recovering.”

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