Indonesia: Four Arrested in Jambi for Possession of Sumatran Tiger Skin

Radesman Saragih Jakarta Globe 7 Mar 16;

Jambi. Four people in Jambi province have been arrested for their alleged involvement in the illegal wildlife trade after they were caught with the skin of a critically endangered Sumatran tiger in their possession, officials said on Monday (07/03).

The four, identified only as S.R. (44), A.Y. (30), I.W. (25), and K.W. (35), were arrested by the Tebo District Police and officials from the province's Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA) in Muarabungo, about 250 kilometers from the provincial capital Jambi, on Saturday.

Police confiscated one well-preserved tiger skin along with a car the suspects were using to conduct their illegal activities.

According to the suspects, a local politician is also in on the scheme.

"We are coordinating with the Jambi Provincial Police to investigate the Jambi legislator allegedly involved in the tiger skin trade," Tebo District Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Aman Guntoro said on Monday.

The four are charged with violating the country's law on wildlife protection and the case will be handed over to the Jambi Provincial Police, Aman said.

BKSDA official Amenson Girsang said the agency would intensify its operations to eradicate poaching and the illegal trade in wildlife.

"In 2015, BKSDA Jambi managed to crack down on seven tiger skin trade cases. There were 18 people named as suspects in those cases. The tiger skin trade took place in the districts of Sarolangun, Bungo, Muarojambi, Kerinci, and also in Jambi city," Amenson said.

Last year, Indonesia was Southeast Asia's largest market for the illegal trade in exotic species, catering to both domestic and international clients with most transaction conducted online, according to the National Police's criminal investigation unit, Bareskrim.

The Sumatran tiger is listed as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature with and estimated population of between 300 and 500 remaining in six major protected areas across Sumatra island.

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