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Illegal trade decimating Sumatran tiger - report

Wednesday 13 February 2008

tigerThe endangered Sumatran tiger is heading for extinction if the current illegal trade in body parts in Indonesia continues unchecked, a new survey from wildlife trade monitoring network TRAFFIC revealed this week. The survey, The tiger trade revisited in Sumatra, Indonesia, found that tiger body parts, including canine teeth, claws, skin pieces, whiskers and bones, were on sale in at least one in ten of 326 retail outlets surveyed during 2006 in 28 cities and towns across Sumatra in Indonesia. Ominously, the variation in retailers stocking the items ranged from jewellers, souvenir shops, traditional Chinese medicine suppliers and antique shops, indicating a wide demand for the body parts.

Based on the number of teeth discovered throughout the investigation, the survey estimates that 23 tigers were killed to supply the items.

“This is an enforcement crisis,” commented Heather Sohl, Wildlife Trade Officer at WWF-UK. “If Indonesian authorities need enforcement help from the international community they should ask for it. If not, they should demonstrate they are taking enforcement seriously.”

“The Sumatran tiger population is estimated to be fewer than 400 to 500 individuals,” said Julia Ng, Programme Officer with TRAFFIC Southeast Asia and lead author of the survey. “It doesn’t take an expert to work out that the Sumatran tiger will disappear like the Javan and Bali tigers in years to come if the poaching and trade continues.”

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