Global environmental challenges
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.
Would you keep a tiger as a pet?
A puppy-sized tiger cub can be bought in the United States for as little as $200, and there are probably about 5,000 such backyard tigers across the country, about the same number of privately owned tigers in China, according to World Wildlife Fund.
That is far greater than the approximately 3,200 wild tigers worldwide, compared to the estimated 100,000 wild tigers a century ago. The growing number of these animals in captivity poses a threat to the species in the wild, WWF reports.
The drugged tiger cub (left) hidden among cuddly toys in a bag at Bangkok airport ranks as one of the most bizarre smuggling tricks.
Imagine the shock of X-raying the bag — as airport workers checking luggage did — and finding a live tiger among the fluffy tiger toys. Maybe it moved, or they spotted the outline of its skeleton among the other toys?