Indonesia: Two caught apparently trading Sumatran tiger skin

Syofiardi Bachyul Jb The Jakarta Post 25 Apr 17;

The Kerinci Seblat National Park's Sumatran tiger preservation team claimed to have recently caught two people transporting a piece of a Sumatran tiger skin on the border of Bungo regency, Jambi province, and Dharmasraya regency, West Sumatra.

The team, together with another from the National Park Management Section Region 2 Merangin and the Bungo Police, on Sunday evening searched a car in which they said they found a bag containing a skin of the critically endangered Sumatran tiger, the head of the park, Arief Toengkagie, said. The tiger was determined to have been a one-and-a-half-year-old female.

"The tiger could have been hunted some six months to a year ago in a forest in Dharmasraya,” Arief said on Monday.

The two suspects were Syamsir, 55, of East Dumai, Riau province, and Aris Sulardi, 57, of Koto Baru, Dharmasraya. Both were under investigation by the Bungo police. A third person ran away during the raid, Arief said.

The raid was conducted following a tip-off that Syamsir was allegedly about to procure a tiger skin in the area. Surveillance on him led investigators to a suspicious car that had stopped at a gas station.

"Syamsir could be the trader or middleman that looks for goods to be traded from hunters, while Aris' role is still being investigated," said Arief.

There are only between 162 and 174 Sumatran tigers left in the national park, he added.

The population continues decreasing year after year because of conflicts with people, as well as because of poaching.

"Illegal trade and poacher networks can be found in every area around the park," he said.

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