Indonesia: Forest rangers arrest tiger skin traders in West Sumatra

Syofiardi Bachyul Jb The Jakarta Post 15 May 17;

A team of forest rangers at Kerinci Seblat National Park arrested two people allegedly involved in the trade of tiger skin and tiger bone on Saturday night.

The head of the national park, Arief Toengkagie, said the team, led by Nurhamidi, arrested two farmers, Awaludin, 46, and Sabian, 40, in Air Muring village in North Bengkulu, Bengkulu.

“They were arrested carrying two sacks of tiger skin and bones. They are now at the North Bengkulu Police station for further investigation,” Arief told The Jakarta Post on Sunday.

Kerinci Seblat is the largest national park in Sumatra, spanning parts of West Sumatra, Jambi, Bengkulu and South Sumatra.

The population of Sumatran tigers in the 1.37-million hectare conservation area remains low as they are under constant threat from poachers. The national park estimates a population of between 162 and 174 tigers in the area.

Previously, the team arrested two other suspects, Syamsir, 55, from East Dumai, Riau, and Aris Sulardi, 57, from Dharmasraya, West Sumatra, for allegedly transporting tiger skins to the border area between Bungo, Jambi, and Dharmasraya on April 23.

“The team estimates that the tigers were captured six to twelve months ago in forests in Dharmasraya,” Arief said. (rdi/wit)