Indonesian arrested selling Sumatran tiger skin

Officials from the local office of the nature conservation agency measure a tiger skin in Banda Aceh, Indonesia, on Jan 6, 2020. PHOTO: AFP
Some of the tiger's bones confiscated when a man was caught trying to sell the skin of the critically endangered animal. PHOTO: AFP

BANDA ACEH, INDONESIA (AFP) - An Indonesian caught trying to sell the skin of a critically endangered Sumatran tiger has been arrested, police said on Monday (Jan 6), highlighting the problem of animal trafficking in the South-east Asian country.

Authorities in Aceh, at the northern tip of Sumatra island, arrested the man last week after he offered to sell the skin to an undercover officer, posing as a buyer, for 90 million rupiah (S$8,769).

Police, who confiscated the tiger's skull as well as some bones and teeth, said they were also hunting another man who allegedly supplied the animal's parts to the suspect.

"We estimated that the tiger had been dead for about three months," Dr Taing Lubis, a veterinarian at Aceh's conservation agency, told AFP, adding the male tiger was about eight years old.

"And we think it died from stabbing. Its neckbones were also fractured."

The arrest comes after police in another part of Sumatra last month arrested several suspected poachers caught with the skin of a Sumatran tiger and four fetuses.

Poaching is responsible for almost 80 per cent of Sumatran tiger deaths, according to TRAFFIC, a global wildlife trade monitoring network.

Sumatran tigers are considered critically endangered by protection group the International Union for Conservation of Nature, with fewer than 400 believed to remain in the wild.

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