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This picture taken on December 7, 2019 shows a seized Sumatran tiger skin and four tiger foetus in a jar, on display at a press conference after three men were caught by the wildlife enforcement team as they tried to sell these items in Pekanbaru, Riau. - The Sumatran tiger is considered to be a critically endangered species with an estimated 500-600 remaining in the wild, with the actual number may be as low as 400. AFP

JAKARTA: Four Sumatran tiger foetuses and the skin of the critically endangered species were recovered in Riau from five suspected poachers and traders.

The arrests were made in a joint raid by the Environment and Forestry Ministry and the national police that targeted the illegal distribution of protected wildlife and plants last week, according to The Jakarta Post.

Eduward Hutapea, head of the ministry’s law enforcement centre region II of Sumatera, said the raid and arrests on Saturday followed a tip-off about a group of people involved in trading tiger parts.

Three were held in Teluk Binjai at Pelalawan initially.

A 49-year-old man, his 42-year-old wife and another man, aged 44, were caught at a location where four tiger foetuses, preserved in a plastic jar, were recovered.

Subsequently, the three also named two other people with alleged roles as the final sellers of tiger skins.

The team arrested both of them in the Pangkalan Lesung subdistrict also in Pelalawan. A dried tiger skin was recovered from them.

"The investigators are looking into the roles of each [alleged perpetrator] to determine which law they violated,” he said.

Eduward said they could face charges under articles 40 and 21 of Law No 5/1990 on the conservation of natural resources and their ecosystems, which carry a maximum punishment of five years’ imprisonment and a Rp100 million (RM29, 700) fine.

An estimate from the Environment and Forestry Ministry states that as of December last year, the Sumatran tiger population stands at no more than 600 because of loss of habitat and poaching.

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