Indonesia arrests 5 suspected poachers of pregnant tigers

Three Indonesian men, wearing masks, being paraded with a seized Sumatran tiger skin and four tiger foetuses in a jar, after they were caught by the wildlife enforcement team as they tried to sell these items in Pekanbaru, Riau. PHOTO: AFP

PEKANBARU, INDONESIA (AP) - Indonesian authorities have arrested five suspected poachers of a pair of critically endangered Sumatran tigers, which were pregnant, and seized four foetuses that had been preserved in a jar, a forestry official said on Sunday (Dec 8).

The five suspects - four men and a woman - were arrested by a team of police and forestry ministry officers in separate raids in two villages in Riau province's Pelalawan district last Saturday after receiving a tip from villagers, said Mr Eduward Hutapea, a local Environment and Forestry Law Enforcement chief.

Mr Hutapea said police confiscated the four preserved foetuses and a piece of an adult tiger's skin from the suspects, two of whom are believed to have been acting as sellers.

He said police are investigating to see whether it is part of an illegal wildlife animal trading syndicate.

Sumatran tigers are the most critically endangered tiger subspecies on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's red list. About 400 remain, down from 1,000 in the 1970s, because of forest destruction and poaching.

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