Indonesia: Poaching rate of Sumatran tiger remains alarming

Otniel Tamindael Antara 30 Sep 16;

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The poaching of Sumatran tigers across the island of Sumatra for trading remains at an alarming rate, though the Indonesia Environment and Forestry Ministry (KLHK) officials have blocked several attempts.

Rampant poaching, coupled with the opening of massive plantation areas and forest fires, has led to the continued drop in the number of protected Sumatran tigers.

The Sumatran tiger is one of the last remaining tiger species in Indonesia after the Balinese and Javanese tiger species were declared extinct, but now, its existence remains under threat because its habitat has shrunk and it is being hunted for trading.

KLHK officials on Thursday (Sept. 29, 2016) apprehended two men in possession of a Sumatran tiger skin in Indragiri Hulu District, Riau Province, Security and Law Enforcement Center for Environment and Forests spokesman Edward Hutapea told Antara in Pekanbaru on Thursday night.

According to Hutapea, the two men are known by their initials as AH (51) and JO (35). The intact Sumatran tiger skin they were carrying was seized as evidence.

After a two-week coordination effort between the KLHK, Jambi Natural Resources Conservation Agency, and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and reconnaissance in Jambi, the officials apprehended the duo for illegally possessing the Sumatran tiger skin.

WWF said there was still a substantial market in Asia for tiger parts and products.

Both actors are still being questioned as witnesses, but it is possible that their status will be upgraded as suspects if the investigators find any evidence of criminal activity.

The confiscated Sumatran tiger skin had a length of some two meters and was intact, with no defects from head to tail, indicating that the poachers were professionals.

A South Sumatran police team early this year caught a man named Suharno alias Reno, a trader in Lubuklinggau city, South Sumatra.

When Suharno was caught, he was in possession of a tiger skin measuring 120 cm long in a plastic bag containing preservatives and some tiger bones weighing two kilograms.

To the authorities, the man claimed he receive these parts of tiger from a tiger hunter in Jambi.

An intact skin of a tiger is sold between Rp50 million and Rp100 million, depending on its size and condition.

Suharno was then sentenced by the district court of Palembang to six months in jail while he could have been given a maximum sentence of five years and fined Rp100 million, based on Law Number 5 of 1990 on Ecosystem and Conservation of Living Natural Resources.

However, Animals Indonesia, a social community institution for animal conservation, deplored the fact that the Palembang district court meted out a light sentence to Suharno, the man involved in the tiger skin trade.

For the Animals Indonesia, the light sentence of Suharno was very disappointing because the defendant was clearly proven as indulging in trading skin and bones of Sumatran tiger, a species falling under protected animal category.

Therefore, every effort must be made to raise public awareness of wildlife protection after many large mammals such as Sumatran tigers are killed each year, their tusks hacked out, and their bodies are left to rot.

Public awareness must also be raised to curb illicit trade involving wild animals and their products which is currently the worlds fifth largest business with a turnover of US$19 billion each year.

Indonesia, according to ProFauna, is rich in biodiversity with more than 300 thousand wildlife species or 17 percent of those in the world.

Besides, the country also becomes the habitat of endemic wildlife, and most of them in Indonesia are found nowhere else around the world.

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), there are 259 endemic mammals, 282 endemic birds, and 172 endemic amphibians.

Despite rich in biodiversity, Indonesia is also notorious as a country which has long list of the threatened wildlife, and the threatened wildlife in the country in 2011 included 184 mammals, 119 birds, 32 reptiles, 32 amphibians, and 140 fish.

There are 68 species which are critically endangered and 69 endangered species, and 517 vulnerable species. These wildlife will be eventually extinct if there is no action to save them from extinction.

In 2015 the Environmental Affairs and Forestry Ministry handled 27 cases of protected wildlife-related crimes, mostly involving mammals.

Of the 27 cases, 14 cases involved mammals, two birds, two primates, four fishes, four reptiles, and one flora, according to the ministrys Director General for Law Enforcement, Rasio Ridho Sani.

Forest is the natural habitat for the wildlife but the main factor of threatened wildlife in Indonesia is deforestation, making the forest in the country is now less than 120 million hectares.

Forest conversion into palm oil plantation, industrial production forest, and mine becomes serious threat towards the survival of rare wildlife including orangutan, Sumatran tiger, and Sumatran elephant.
(T.O001/INE/KR-BSR)


Trade in Endangered Tigers Increasing in Asia: Wildlife Watchdog
Ratri M. Siniwi Jakarta Globe 30 Sep 16;

Jakarta. The wildlife trade monitoring network known as Traffic, and the World Wildlife Fund have published a new report on the illegal trade in tigers in Asia, which shows that at least 1,755 of the endangered animals were seized between 2000 and 2015, including 136 from Indonesia.

Most of the animals, or their body parts, came from captive breeding farms, which house between 7,000 and 8,000 tigers, according to Traffic's report released on Thursday (29/09).

The number is alarming as there is only an estimated 3,900 tigers left in the wild.

"Criminal networks are increasingly trafficking captive-bred tigers around Asia, undermining law enforcement efforts and helping to fuel demand. Tiger range countries must rapidly close their farms or wild tigers will face a future only as skin and bones," WWF senior vice president Ginette Hemley said.

There are more than 200 captive tiger facilities in Asia, namely in China, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam.

The most commonly trafficked tiger product is the skins, followed by bones, which are used for medicinal or quasi-medicinal purposes. In Indonesia, tiger specimens are mainly used in taxidermy.

According to Traffic, stuffed Sumatran tigers are associated with luxury. Several hundred stuffed tigers, or their skins, have been registered among the possessions of wealthy Indonesians and the military elite.

Only 371 Sumatran tigers are left in the wild.

"The illegal trade in tigers, their body parts and products, persists as an important conservation concern. Despite repeated government commitments to close down tiger farms in Asia, such facilities are flourishing and playing an increasing role in fueling illegal trade," Traffic executive director Steven Broad said after the report was released.

The report recommends the establishment of intelligence-led law enforcement that can dismantle illegal trade networks; the revision of national legislation in tiger range countries; and improvements in reporting protocols for crimes related to the animals.


Environment and forestry officials confiscate sumatran tiger skin
Antara 30 Sep 16;

Pekanbaru (ANTARA News) - The officials of Environment and Forestry Ministry (KLHK) for Sumatran region apprehended two men in possession of a Sumatran tiger skin in Indragiri Hulu District, Riau Province.

"The apprehension and the confiscation of the Sumatran tiger skin is the result of development among the KLHK, Jambi Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA), and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF)," local Security and Law Enforcement Center for Environment and Forests spokesman Edward Hutapea remarked here.

Edward noted that the Sumatran tiger skin was seized as evidence from the two apprehended man, known by their initials as (51) and JO (35).

After a two-week coordination effort between the KLHK, Jambi Natural Resources Conservation Agency, and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and reconnaissance in Jambi, the officials apprehended the duo for illegally possessing the Sumatran tiger skin, according to Edward.

WWF said there was still a substantial market in Asia for tiger parts and products.

Both actors are still being questioned as witnesses, but it is possible that their status will be upgraded as suspects if the investigators find any evidence of criminal activity.

The confiscated Sumatran tiger skin had a length of some two meters and was intact, with no defects from head to tail, indicating that the poachers were professionals.
(Uu.O001)


Authorities Seize Sumatran Tiger Skin in Riau
Fazar Muhardi, Anggi Romadhoni & Ratri M. Siniwi Jakarta Globe 30 Sep 16;

Jakarta. Officials of the Ministry of Environment and Forestry have confiscated a two-meter long Sumatran tiger skin in Indragiri Hulu district, Riau province.

"This was a collaboration between the ministry, World Wildlife Fund and the Natural Resources Conservation Agency [BKSDA] and has been developing over the past two weeks," the ministry's law enforcement and security center head Eduwar Hutapea said in Pekanbaru on Thursday (29/09).

Eduwar said that skin of the adult Sumatran tiger was seized from two alleged perpetrators, identified only by the initials A.H. and J.O., in Batang Gangsal district earlier on the same day.

The two are still considered witnesses and the police will name them suspects once the investigation links them with the crime.

During the arrest, police also confiscated a motorcycle and tiger bones.

The number of Sumatran tigers that have been poached in the region has set off alarm bells at the ministry and prompted officials to uncover more of these illegal acts, especially with the population of big cats declining rapidly due to deforestation.

Wildlife crime watchdog Traffic has stated that more than 1,700 tigers have fallen victim to the illegal wildlife trade over the past 15 years, with their skins being the most commonly trafficked item.


Two Riau residents arrested over alleged tiger skin trade attempt
Rizal Harahap The Jakarta Post 1 Oct 16;

Environment and Forestry Ministry officers have arrested two residents of Batang Gansal village, Siberida district, Indragiri Hulu regency, Riau, for allegedly attempting to sell a Sumatran tiger skin, which is about two meters long.

Security and Law Enforcement Agency official at the ministry’s law enforcement directorate general Eduward said the wildlife trade case was discovered through information from a local resident, who reported that there would be a tiger skin selling transaction. An intelligence team investigated the report and managed to identify the two traders. The perpetrators, identified as Ayat, 51, and Niko, 38, were spied on for two weeks.

“In their operation, the team personnel disguised themselves as an interested buyer and contacted Ayat and Niko. They agreed to make a transaction in Simpang Granit, Batang Gangsal. Ayat and Niko were arrested in the raid, during which a Sumatran tiger skin was confiscated as evidence,” Eduward said on Friday.

Wrapped in a blue plastic bag, the tiger skin was still wet because it had been soaked in chemical liquid to prevent it from drying. All of the tiger’s bones had been removed, leaving only the soles of its feet and claws. It was suspected that the tiger was recently killed because it still looked fresh.

“The tiger’s skin is complete, from the head to the tail. The skin was removed from its body neatly. It seems that the procedure was executed by professionals,” said Eduward.

He said Ayat and Niko could be charged for violating Law No. 5/1990 on the conservation of natural resources and the ecosystem, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison and Rp 100 million (US$7,682.56) in fines. (ebf)

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