Palembang, S Sumatra (ANTARA News) - Animals Indonesia, a social community institution for animal conservation, has deplored the fact that the district court of Palembang meted out a light sentence to a man involved in tiger skin trade recently.

In a press release received by Antara here on Friday, Suwarno, the chief of the institution, said the trader, Suharno alias Reno, was only sentenced to six months in jail while he could have been given a maximum sentence of five years and fined Rp100 million, based on Law Number 5 of 1990 on Ecosystem and Conservation of Living Natural Resources.

"This is very disappointing because the defendant was clearly proven as indulging in trading skin and bones of Sumatran tiger, a species falling under protected animal category," he rued.

Suharno was caught by a South Sumatra police team with the help of COP, Animal and ZSL non-governmental organizations in Lubuklinggau city, South Sumatra, on February 25, 2016.

When he was caught, he was in possession of a piece of tiger skin measuring 120 cm long, kept in a plastic bag containing preservatives, and tiger bones weighing two kilograms.

The trader claimed he received these from a tiger hunter in Jambi.

"Sumatran tiger is one of the tiger species left in Indonesia after Balinese and Javanese tiger species were declared extinct. The existence of Sumatran tiger was under threat because its habitat had shrunk and it was being hunted for trading," he explained.

An intact skin of a tiger is sold between Rp50 million and Rp100 million, depending on its size and condition, he added.

COP Anti-Wildlife Crime coordinator Daniek Hendarto said the development was very disconcerting as Sumatran tiger faces imminent extinction.

"Due to its high price, there is always demand," he added.

He underlined that it was time for the government to show through its working units in the region that it has a strong motivation to enforce the law against wild animals trade.(*)

Editor: Heru Purwanto
Copyright © ANTARA 2016