Indonesia arrests four men over Sumatran tiger killing

AFP , Monday 10 Aug 2015

Indonesian police have arrested four men for allegedly killing a Sumatran tiger and trying to sell its body parts, an official said Monday, the latest case of the critically endangered animals being targeted.

Acting on a tipoff, a group of police officers posing as potential buyers arrested the men on Saturday as they allegedly attempted to sell the tiger's skin, bones and teeth.

Poachers frequently hunt the tigers, which are native to vast, biodiverse Sumatra island in western Indonesia, as their body parts are used in traditional Chinese medicine and fetch high prices.

The men were detained in Jambe Rambung village in Aceh province, on the northern tip of Sumatra, local police official Mirwazi, who like many Indonesians goes by one name, told AFP.

The group, who caught the young male tiger in another part of the province, could face up to five years in jail and a fine of 100 million rupiah ($7,400) each, he said.

One of the suspects admitted to having killed another Sumatran tiger and selling its body parts three years ago, according to the policeman.

There are fewer than 400 Sumatran tigers left in the wild, according to environmental group WWF.

As well as poaching, the animals are also under threat due to the destruction of their rainforest habitat to make way for palm oil as well as pulp and paper plantations.

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