WCT Pekanbaru: A cooperative effort by the Center of Environmental and Forestry Law Enforcement (LHK), the Center of Conservation of Natural Resources (BKSDA) Jambi and BKSDA West Sumatra succeeded in catching a group of wildlife traffickers in the act of selling a set of tiger skin and two sets of bones on Sunday, 19 February 2017, in West Sumatra.
The incident occurred around 8 a.m. in the small town of Solok, about 25 kilometers from Padang. Six men with the initials Sy (35 years old, from the Batang Merangin district of Kerinci, Jambi province), N (49, Pangkalan Jambu district of Merangin, Jambi province), Y (56, from Pasaman, West Sumatra), IZ (23), Su (33), and DMS (28), were caught with valuable wildlife body parts of the highly-protected Sumatra tiger (Pantera tigris sumatrae) and other smaller items inside one of two cars.
Other than the tiger body parts, a total of two cars, eight mobile phones, and two rings with stones made from hornbill beak, another endangered bird species, were confiscated.
The success followed an anonymous tip-off that a transaction of the highly endangered tiger parts was going to take place on Saturday midnight in Padang. However, sources claimed that the time was pushed back to 3 a.m. and a different meeting point, 25 kilometers away outside of town, was chosen. After waiting for several hours and frequent changes in which the times kept being pushed back, police finally caught the group just as they were in the middle of discussion, at approximately 8 a.m.
Mr Wawan Subagian, head of Administration of BKSDA West Sumatra, commented, “We are delighted with the success of the cooperation of BKSDA Jambi and BKSDA West Sumatra. This case hopefully serves as a lesson for people who want to do the same thing, that trading of Sumatra Tiger will have legal implications! And my hope is that this will dampen the motivation for perpetrators to trade wildlife that are protected.”
Out of the six men apprehended, three are set to testify as witnesses. The other three, of the initials Sy, N, and Y, will be charged with illegally possessing and trafficking highly-protected wildlife animals. For this, Article 21 paragraph 2(d) in conjunction with Article 40 paragraph 2 of the Indonesian Law No. 5/1990 on the Conservation of Natural Resources and Ecosystems will be applied to the perpetrators.
The maximum penalty is 5 years of prison time and a maximum fine of Rp100 million rupiah (equivalent to approx. 10,000 Singapore dollars).
Due to their being poached and hunted over the decades, the elusive Sumatra Tiger population has dwindled to under 400 in the wild. The body parts of the exotic Sumatra Tiger, from the skin, bones, claws, teeth, meat, and even the dung, are used and valued for different purposes. Each set of bones and skin could fetch around 100 million rupiah in Indonesia, and can be priced up to 1.5 bilion rupiah if sold to buyers as far away as Russia or the United States.