Fauna & Flora International reports arrests of tiger poachers

Two tiger poachers have been arrested in Bengkulu City, southwest Sumatra reports Debbie Martyr, Field Coordinator for FFI’s Kerinci Tiger Protection Programme on the eve of International Day for Biological Diversity.

The poachers were caught in possession of the pelt and skeleton of a Sumatran tiger. As a critically endangered species loss of even one of these animals can impact on the survival of the species.

The arrests follow a two month undercover investigation lead by rangers from Fauna & Flora International’s (FFI) Tiger Protection and Conservation Unit with back up from Bengkulu City police.

The two men arrested were a 57 year old man and his son from Tunggang village of Muko Muko district, northern Bengkulu. Both men were known to the unit as professional tiger poachers active in three districts of Bengkulu and West Sumatra province. The older suspects advised the undercover investigator that he had poached more than 100 Sumatran tigers in a career spanning more than 30 years.

“Currently we estimate the Sumatran tiger population at around 500. There could be more tigers out there but regardless these poachers have had a negative impact on this species.” said Debbie.

The suspects are thought to have traded poached tigers to Pekanbaru in Riau province and to Padang city in West Sumatra province and are known to have links to nationally significant illegal wildlife traders.

This law enforcement action was the third conducted by the unit in the last six months.

Fauna & Flora International has been working in Kerinci-Seblat National Park, Sumatra since 1995. Tiger Protection and Conservation Units comprising rangers recruited from forest edge communities and led by a park ranger on full-time secondment to the programme, arrest offenders and enforce the law within the national park and outside the forest.

Photo credits: Jeremy Holden/FFI, Fauna & Flora International