Indonesian wildlife officials have arrested a suspected smuggler of critically endangered Sumatran tigers after a two-day stakeout, World Wildlife Fund reports. There are believed to be fewer than 400 of these rare big cats in the wild.
The arrest was made by Indonesia’s Natural Resource Conservation Agency in Riau and West Sumatra provinces, with support from World Wildlife Fund-Indonesia’s Tiger Protection Units. The authorities also seized the skin of a Sumatran tiger they believed was poisoned.
After hearing of the poisoned tiger, the authorities staked out a poacher, which they believe led to a high-level wildlife smuggler, WWF said in a statement.
When they arrived at the suspected smuggler’s house, investigators located the tiger skin by following the smell of chemicals used to preserve animal parts. The tiger’s bones, valued on the black market for their supposed medicinal value, were not found. They did find a live python, parts of a Southern Serow (a kind of mountain goat) and a muntjac, or barking deer.
Authorities tracked a vehicle they suspected of picking up the skin and bones from the poached Sumatran tiger to Balung, a border area between Riau and West Sumatra. The driver of the vehicle was then seen handing over the tiger skin to the suspect, who is in police custody in West Sumatra.