West Sumatra’s Natural Resources Conservation Age ncy on Friday announced the arrest of a man suspected of involvement in the trade of tigers’ body parts.
The man was apprehended in his home in Payakumbuh on March 3, after the agency, also known as BKSDA received a report that a tiger had been poisoned near Rimbang Baling wildlife reserve in late February, the head of the Riau BKSDA, Kurnia Rauf, said on Friday.
Together with West Sumatran officials, Riau BKSDA had for several days been following a courier carrying tigers’ body parts. The trail led them to the man in Payakumbuh.
Kurnia said the suspect, identified only as F.N., was likely to have a wide network in the wildlife trade in West Sumatra.
When officials apprehended him, F.N. denied that was involved in the illicit trade. However, one official detected the smell of a chemical substance often used to preserve tiger skin. It led to the discovery of a room where F.N. kept his wares.
Along with the tiger’s skin, BKSDA officials also confiscated a live python snake and pieces of other animals.
Chairul Saleh, coordinator of the World Wildlife Fund’s Indonesian branch, said the arrest was only a start.
“We want to help the government to break the cycle of tiger smuggling because it has brought the Sumatran tiger to the brink to the extinction,” he said.
F.N. is being held by the Payakumbuh Police and faces charges of illegal trading in parts of endangered species.
Last year, a 92-year-old man named Wiryo Armada was arrested in Riau who confessed to having killed at least 44 tigers in Riau since 1960.
Authorities believe Wiryo was part of an international network and said he told them he had customers in Singapore. Wiryo died before he was brought to trial.