Jambi (ANTARA) - The Jambi Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA) disclosed on Tuesday that its rangers have cracked down on three Sumatran tiger skin traders this year.

The traders were caught in May and July this year. One case of tiger skin trade was uncovered in Sarolangun district, while the two other cases were detected in Sungai Penuh city, the agency's head, Jefrianto, informed.

A panel of judges at a local court pronounced its verdict in one case, while court proceedings are still underway for two other cases, he said.

Jefrianto further informed that in its crackdown on the Sumatran tiger skin traders, his agency was assisted by local residents, who informed the rangers about the transaction locations of the perpetrators.

As a result, the perpetrators were caught red-handed, he said.

With regard to the preservation of Sumatran tigers (Pantera tigris sumatrae) in Jambi, he said that their habitats are located in PT Restorasi Ekosistem Indonesia (PT REKI) and the national parks of Kerinci Seblat, Bukit Tigapuluh, and Berbak.

He further said that he has yet to determine the exact number of Sumatran tigers in their natural habitat. Based on camera traps installed at PT REKI, the number of tigers is just seven or eight.

ANTARA has earlier reported that in Indonesia, Sumatran tigers are the only surviving tiger species as the country has lost two sub-species of tigers to extinction: the Bali tiger, which became extinct in 1937, and the Javan tiger, whose population died out in the 1970s.

Sumatran tigers, the smallest of all tigers, are currently a critically endangered species that are only found on Sumatra Island, Indonesia’s second-largest island.

The tigers are on the brink of extinction owing to deforestation, poaching, and conflict between wild animals and local people owing to dwindling habitats.

The exact number of Sumatran tigers left in the wild is unclear, but as per the latest estimates, less than 300 to possibly 500 tigers remain at 27 locations, including Kerinci Seblat National Park, Tesso Nilo Park, and Gunung Leuser National Park.

According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), their number has declined from about 1 thousand in the 1970s.

A 2009 report by the Forestry Ministry pointed to conflict with humans being the biggest threat to tiger conservation. The report cited that on average, 5 to 10 Sumatran tigers have been killed every year since 1998.

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Translator: Nanang M, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Azis Kurmala
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