Although Sumatran tigers are losing their habitat and prey fast, and poaching shows no sign of decline, the Riau Natural Conservation Agency continues to take steps to protect this endangered animal.
A few days ago, a tiger was disturbed and exited from its habitat in a shrub in the district of Indragiri Hilir, but it was later trapped in a snare installed by irresponsible people.
After being trapped in the snare for three days at the Pulau Burung market area in Indragiri Hilir District, the poor Sumatran tiger was finally rescued and evacuated by the BKSDA of Riau Province in the early morning of Nov 17, 2018.
Head of Riau`s BKSDA Suharyono remarked in Pekanbaru on Saturday that the evacuation process took three days since Wednesday after BKSDA officials managed to anesthetize the Sumatran tiger at around 1:48 a.m. Western Indonesia Standard Time.
"The poor Sumatran tiger is now in an evacuation cage," Suharyono noted, adding that a veterinary medical team was still observing and examining the health of the animal.
Furthermore, Haryono explained that from the examination conducted by the medical team comprising three veterinarians, the tiger trapped in a market area was a male aged three.
He stated that the tiger came out of a thicket and entered the Pulau Burung market area in Indragiri Hilir due to lack of food sources in its narrow habitat.
Not far from the market is the thicket, covering an area of four hectares and known as one of the Sumatran tiger hideouts. But Suharyono remarked that the thicket was not a place large enough for a tiger.
The district of Indragiri Hilir in the past year was always discussed about due to the existence of Sumatran tigers, whose habitat continues to be disturbed.
Besides the narrowing of Sumatran tiger habitat, the use of metal wire to capture this rare and protected big cat on the island of Sumatra remains difficult to control.
Suharyono explained that the tiger, rescued and evacuated by the BKSDA on Saturday, had injuries on several parts of his body because of being caught in a metal wire.
Garroting of Sumatran tigers is said to remain rampant following the apprehension of a man suspected of killing a female tiger with two babies in its womb with a metal wire late September 2018 at Rimbang Baling Wildlife Reserve in Riau Province.
Suharyono remarked in Pekanbaru that the man, known by his initial as E and who worked as a keeper of oil palm plantation in his area, was apprehended after being found installing a trap from metal wires to catch Sumatran tigers.
The metal wire trap killed a female Sumatran tiger, which was expected to give birth to two cubs soon.
Suharyono explained that the death of the pregnant Sumatran tigress was the saddest and alarming case not only in Riau but also nationally and internationally.
Based on Law Number 5 of 1990 concerning Conservation of Biological Resources and their Ecosystems, a trap builder can be sentenced to five years in prison and fined Rp100 million.
According to Suharyono, E claimed to have installed the snare to catch pigs and not Sumatran tigers, but the size of the snare was large enough to grip the stomach of the Sumatran tiger.
He remarked that poaching of Sumatran tigers for trading remains rampant, because around the scene, there were many similar traps made of metal wires.
The Sumatran tigress, estimated to be four years old, was found dead in a snare in the border area of Muara Lembu Village and Pangkalan Indarung, Kuantan Singingi District, on Sept 26, 2018.
The carcass of the Sumatran tigress was found hanging from a steel wire snare wrapped around its stomach on the edge of a cliff.
Rampant poaching, coupled with the opening of massive plantation areas and forest fires, has led to the continued drop in the number of protected Sumatran tigers.
The Sumatran tiger is one of the last remaining tiger species in Indonesia after the Balinese and Javanese tiger species were declared extinct. Now, its existence remains under threat because its habitat has shrunk and it is being hunted for trading.
One of only six subspecies of tigers that survive today, Sumatran tigers are found only on the island of Sumatra and are classified as critically endangered.
Accelerating deforestation and rampant poaching mean this noble creature could sooner or later end up like its extinct Javan and Balinese relatives.
Despite increased efforts in tiger conservation, including strengthening law enforcement and anti-poaching capacities, a substantial market remains in Sumatra and the rest of Asia for tiger parts and products.
In addition to Riau Province, rampant poaching in Bengkulu province has also led to a rapid decline of the population of Sumatran tigers.
Poaching and trading of tiger body parts have become major threats to the preservation of the endangered species, despite increased collaboration between law enforcement officials to fight these illegal practices.