Two ‘poachers’ detained in Riau
Rizal Harahap , The Jakarta Post , Pekanbaru Thu, 06/25/2009 11:24 AM The Archipelago
Prosecutors in Riau have arrested two suspects for allegedly poaching and killing three endangered Sumatran tigers after conducting investigations for nearly four months.
The suspects, father and son, Ajad Abdullah, 73, and Mistar Ajad, 45, from Tanjung Pasar village, Pelangiran district, Indragiri Hilir regency, are currently being detained by the Tembilahan prosecutor’s office.
Head of technical conservation division of the Riau office Nature Conservation Agency (BKSDA) Syahimin said his men and investigators from the prosecutor’s office found strong evidence the suspects had killed the protected Sumatran tigers.
“The prosecutor’s office said Tuesday it has completed the case files and that the case is officially being handled by the Tembilahan prosecutor’s office,” Syahimin told The Jakarta Post on Wednesday.
Riau BKSDA investigator Marhot Pohan, who filed the case, said the three dead tigers were male and still young, evident from their medium size. According to him, the tigers were killed and skinned after both suspects were able to trap them not far from the village.
“We found two pieces of tiger pelt and skulls at the suspect’s house, while they had already sold the other pelt and body parts of the third tiger. A number of witnesses said the suspects caught the animals by trapping them.”
He added the suspects had violated Law No. 5/1990 on biological and natural conservation and could face between one and five years in prison and a maximum fine of Rp 50 million if found guilty.
Syahimin said the suspects killed the three tigers on Feb. 10 on the grounds they had raised fear among the villagers and frequently ventured into the village and mauled resident’s livestock.
“I don’t know how many times the suspects had killed tigers, but they seemed experienced.”
A week after the three tigers were reported killed, the Riau BKSDA also received a report that a female tiger was killed in Gaung village, Gaung district in Indragiri Hilir, after it attacked two oil palm employees.
“However we have yet to find any evidence because the remains have not been found as of now,” said Syahimin, adding the Riau BKSDA had yet to find a possible syndicate that would have bought the tiger pelt.
“Both suspects only said they sold the tiger parts to a ship crew member and unaware where they would be sent to. They may have been sent to Batam or Singapore given the various shipping routes from Indragiri Hilir.
Syahimin acknowledged he could not estimate the number of Sumatran tigers still remaining in the regency.
However, he said according to a number of people many tiger tracks could be found around the village.
“I call on residents to immediately report to the BKSDA in the event of tigers entering the village. We will send a team to catch them and villagers are not allowed to take actions into their own hands.”
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