Recent arrests mark the tenth in three months, equaling the total for the previous three years NEW YORK (SEPTEMBER 2, 2008) – The Wildlife Conservation Society announced today a successful raid by Indonesian authorities that resulted in four arrests for selling illegal tiger parts.The raid, part of recent stepped-up efforts by Indonesian authorities to control illegal wildlife trade, marks the tenth arrest for trading in tiger parts in three months, which equals the total amount of arrests for the previous three years. All cases are now being prosecuted by the Indonesian authorities.The raid took place on August 26th and recovered tiger bones, skins, teeth, and claws, along with other protected wildlife. It was conducted by the Indonesian Department of Forestry, Directorate-General for Forest Protection and Nature Conservation (PHKA) who worked in conjunction with WCS’s Wildlife Crime Unit. The Unit, created by WCS in 2003, provides data and technical advice to law enforcement agencies to support the investigation and prosecution of wildlife crimes. “The Indonesian Government is committed and to stopping illegal wildlife trade and strengthening its commitments to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). We are seeking to put a stop to the capture, possession and trade of protected wildlife in Indonesia” Said Djati Wicaksono, Head of the PHKA Office of Natural Resource Conservation in Medan, who led the raid. The Wildlife Conservation Society is actively trying to save tigers in Sumatra. Other WCS projects seek to reduce habitat loss and prevent conflict between local people and wild tigers.“Tiger poaching and trade is a massive threat to the survival of this iconic animal,” said Dr Noviar Andayani, Director of the WCS Indonesia Program. “The long-term survival of this species will require effective action to control illegal poaching, to reduce habitat loss, and to prevent conflict between tigers and local people.”Tigers are killed by hunters to supply the demand for tiger parts such as skins, teeth, bones, hair, etc. These parts are used as souvenirs, in traditional medicine, and as talismans. Much of the tiger parts traded in Indonesia are bound for export to China. Tigers are also killed when they become involved in conflicts with local farmers. “While the threat of extinction of tigers is often talked about, preventing this from happening requires real action on the ground such as we are seeing in Indonesia now. In the areas of Sumatra where we have worked hardest and longest we are starting to see indications that the tiger population is finally recovering,” stated Dr. Andayani.
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