Minister urges police to nab wildlife poachers, traders

EoF News / 03 March 2009

PEKANBARU (EoF News)— Minister of Forestry denounced the killings of four Sumatran tigers in Kerumutan forest landscape of Riau province and urged the police to probe the incidents as provincial conservation agency suspected of poaching practice drove such a crime.

The toll of endangered Sumatran tiger (Panthera tigris sumatrae) that killed alleged poachers and villagers increased to 4 following the recent killing by farmers in Gaung sub-district of Indragiri Hilir district on 24 February. It is believed that the tiger slaughter related to the attack suffered by two farmers who were hospitalized two days before.

Head of Major Provincial Agency of Conservation (BBKSDA) of Riau, Rahman Siddik, said last weekend that one team had been deployed to the location of killings of three tigers in Simpang Kanan village to nab the perpetrator and its chain of operation, Tribun Pekanbaru daily reported Monday (2/3/2009).

“He [perpetrator] is former forestry service colleague,” Rahman told the daily adding that his agency had coordinated to net the suspect.

In Pekanbaru, upon on his arrival on Friday (27/2/2009), Minister of Forestry Malam Sambat Kaban urged the police to probe the network of poaching and wildlife trade in the province following the killing of four Sumatran tigers last month.

“Not only perpetrator of tiger’s killing whom should be probed thoroughly. The police should also pinch the buyer of tiger’s carcasses from the slaughters occurred in Riau. It is a serious matter,” the minister told the press, website reported Friday (27/2/2009).

Three juvenile Sumatran tigers were snared to death by alleged poacher in Pelangiran sub-district on 10 and 16 February 2009.

These two incidents occurred in Kerumutan forest block which now mostly converted into pulp and oil palm plantations.

EoF analyzed that there are some pulp companies located nearby the latest incidents such as PT Bina Duta Laksana (APP/Sinar Mas Forestry group), PT Mutiara Sabuk Khatulistiwa (APP), and PT Bina Keluarga (APP) as well as HPH selective logging concession of PT Bhara Induk. The palm oil plantations are PT Tenaga Pembangunan Sejahtera and PT Shadu Eka Citra.

Meanwhile, in Pelangiran sub-district incident, there are two palm oil concessions of PT Guntung Hasrat Makmur which had total 35 hotspots in January 2009, PT Bumi Reksa Nusasejati concessions (16 hotspots), PT Multi Gambut Industry and PT Riau Sakti United Plant.

Osmantri, coordinator of tiger conflict mitigation of WWF Riau Program, said that illegal trade of wildlife in Riau allegedly involved well-managed international chain which is difficult to dismantle.

Chain of trade is involved from poachers, brokers, collectors, to exporters, he said as reported by Antara news agency last weekend.

In Sumatra, three provinces –West Sumatra, Jambi and Riau-- were hit by human-tiger conflicts in two recent months. In Jambi, six people were killed by tigers within recent two months.

Head of BBKSDA nature conservancy agency of West Sumatra, Indra Arinal, said that deforestation in central Sumatra is quite huge which incited some conflicts between the human and tiger, Kompas daily reported (28/2/2009).

Meanwhile, at a press release last week Ian Kosasih, director of WWF’s Forest Program, said, “As people encroach into tiger habitat, it’s creating a crisis situation and further threatening this critically endangered subspecies.”

Didy Wurjanto, the head of the official Jambi nature conservancy agency, BBKSDA, added, “It’s a signal that we need to get serious about protecting natural forest and giving tigers their space, and to ensure local governments have sustainable economic development policies in place that include long-term protections for our natural resources.”

EoF on Sumatran tiger in Senepis forest

EoF on Sumatran tiger in Kampar Peninsula forest