Critical blow as three endangered Sumatran tigers killed

Critical blow as three endangered Sumatran tigers killed Source: Indonesian Police

Indonesian police have said that three Sumatran tigers, the world’s most endangered, were found dead in traps on Sunday April 24th dealing a critical blow to the survival of the species.

Critically endangered, it is thought there are less than 400 Sumatran tigers left in the wild, the three tigers were found within hours of one another after being caught in snare traps.

Local police Chief Hendra Sukmana.said that two of the tigers, a male and a female, were found with leg injuries caused by a trap near a palm oil plantation in Aceh province on Sumatra Island. The other a female tiger was found just 500 metres away, a snare still embedded in its almost-severed neck and legs.

Sukmana said that a search of the area found several more traps. These he said are commonly used by local farmers to snare wild boar who can be destructive.

Agus Arianto, Head of Aceh’s conservation agency added that poachers have also been known to use such traps to catch, kill, and sell endangered wildlife.

He told AFP: “We strongly condemn this action. If the tests reveal there’s intentional action that caused the deaths of these protected species, we will take strict action.”

Sadly the cases are not isolated but just the latest in a strong of killings over the past year, with police arresting four men last June for allegedly catching a tiger with a snare trap and selling its remains. Another tiger died days later after it ate a goat laced with rat poison in neighbouring North Sumatra.

Three tigers, including two cubs, were found dead in august in one of the island’s conservation areas after being caught in traps apparently set by a poacher. Two months later, the body of another female tiger was found in Riau province, seemingly having died from dehydration after being caught in a snare trap that broke one of its legs.

Although Sumatra has laws to protect the animals with those guilty of killing tigers facing jail terms of up to five years and fines of (6,600 euros), killings still take place with tiger parts in demand and buyers willing to pay high prices.

Sadly poverty and the loss of income during the pandemic has meant an increase in poaching, people turning to illegal activities to make ends meet. Political upheaval, a lack of funds and conflict all add to the difficulties conservation authorities have in trying to curb the destruction of habitat and the animals that inhabit the area.

VICE World News in research the problem say it took less than 24 hours for to find a buyer who promised to catch and sell a tiger for the equivalent of $29,000 (27,000 euros).

The killing of any endangered animal is never good news, but the manner in which these Sumatran tigers died makes the news even more sad and appalling.

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Written by

Peter McLaren-Kennedy

Originally from South Africa, Peter is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]