Medan, Indonesia (October 24, 2016). The Wildlife Conservation Society’s Wildlife Crimes Unit (WCU), in collaboration with North Sumatra Police (POLDA SUMUT), arrested three wildlife traders in Medan, North Sumatra, Indonesia on October 14, 2016. Among the confiscated items were a 1.5 meter Sumatran tiger skin, pangolin scales, a snake skin, turtle shells, deer organs and stuffed Hawksbill turtle.
Two of the traders, identified as Akheng and Asai, are from Medan, North Sumatra and a third, identified as Edy Murdani, is from Aceh where the tiger skin originated before being transported to Medan for sale.
The Head of the Special Criminal Act Division, North Sumatra Provincial Police AKBP Robin Simatupang said,”Based on the WCU investigation, the potential traders of a Sumatran tiger skin that were operating in Medan were identified. Collaborating with WCU, we developed a strategy to catch them. Police officers acted as buyers from Surabaya interested in purchasing the skin for USD 4,600 while WCU staff acted as middlemen to connect the trader and buyer. As the tiger skin is from Aceh, we assume that it was captured near Mount Leuser National Park. Indonesia’s police are strongly committed to assisting law enforcement and the National Park Authority in reducing poaching and illegal trafficking of wildlife.”
WCU Manager Dwi Adhiasto said, "We have been investigating this case for four months, initially seeking a pangolin trader. The suspect named Akheng offered pangolin, tiger skin, bones, teeth, hornbill casques, 25 kg of elephant ivory from Aceh, and 30 kg of elephant ivory and tiger skin and parts from North Sumatra. We greatly appreciate the efforts of North Sumatra Police in uncovering and capturing wildlife traders of protected and endangered species in Medan. We continue to dismantle trafficking networks in Indonesia that threaten the existence of protected wildlife.”
WCS Indonesia Director, Dr. Noviar Andayani added, "The Sumatran tiger is a critically endangered species and protected by national and international law. Poaching and illegal trade of this species not only present real environmental dangers, but ultimately undermine the rule of law.”
The suspects face five years of imprisonment.
WCS’s Wildlife Crimes Unit in Sumatra is supported by the Liz Claiborne and Art Ortenberg Foundation, Fondation Segré, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service Multinational Species Conservation Funds, AZA Tiger Species Survival Plan’s, Tiger Conservation Campaign, the UK Government's IWT Challenge Fund and the United States Department of State.