Court case of Sumatran tiger poachers in Sumatra

EoF Press Release / 05 August 2009

Media Release

Court case of Sumatran tiger poachers in Sumatra’s Riau Province

BBKSDA Riau and Environmental Activists Appreciate Law Enforcement in Wildlife Crime Case and Encourage Maximum Penalty for the Perpetrators


Pekanbaru – A court case involving the killing of three Sumatran tigers will come into the sixth session next Monday (10/8) in Tembilahan District Court, Indragiri Hilir District, Riau, Sumatra. The trial against two defendants takes place following the tiger killings that occured in Kerumutan forest block in District Indragiri Hilir, Riau this February.  Officials and environmental activists appreciate the fact that the case is being brought to court and showing progress;  for example, on the third session of the trial, judges rejected the objection notes expressed by the defendants’ lawyers.

“The major Natural Resources Conservancy Agency (BBKSDA)  of Riau highly appreciates the seriousness and consistency by the law enforcers in fighting wildlife crime, particularly involving a critically endangered species,” says Trisnu Danisworo, head of BBKSDA Riau. In line with this, he hopes that perpetrators found guilty of killing the tigers are sentenced to the maximum penalty. Based on Act Number 5 /1990, the sentence for killing a Sumatran tiger is  up to five years imprisonment or a fine of Rp 100 million.

The  trial commenced on 16 July 2009 and during the reading of the temporary verdict on July 27, the Judges rejected the objection notes expressed by the defendants’ lawyers. “We highly appreciate the Judge’s decision to proceed in this trial. If the judges manage to send the defendants to jail with the maximum penalty, it will help eliminate the belief  that  law enforcement against  wildlife crimes is not enforced,” says Hariyo T. Wibisono chairman of Forum HarimauKita. With the prosecution of the perpetrators, he hopes this case can be a positive example of achievement and leadership in law enforcement against wildlife crime.

The poaching of three Sumatran tigers in Pelangiran sub-district, Indragiri Hilir district, was shocking for  nature conservationists. Minister of Forestry Malem Sambat Kaban stated publicly to local and national media that the those who killed the Sumatran tiger  must be given an appropriate  punishment in order to help create deterrent effect.

“In addition to encouraging the police, the prosecutors and judges to process this legal action, WWF-Indonesia is also highly appreciative of the perseverance shown by investigators of BBKSDA Riau who are presenting this case to the court,” says Ian Kosasih, Director of the Forest Program of WWF-Indonesia.

Following the legal proceeding, BBKSDA Riau’s  Civil Servants Investigator (PPNS) has made history as the first in the last five years in Riau Province to successfully prosecute a wildlife crime  in court after overcoming the legal complexity and public scepticism toward the agency’s committment to  law enforcement against wildlife crimes.

“We expect that the prosecution in this tiger poaching case could inspire and motivate  other law enforcers to prosecute other wildlife crime cases such as the case of seven Sumatran elephants killings in Riau this year,” said  Herri Tarmizi, Coordinator of Advocacy at Kelompok Studi Lingkungan Hidup (KSLH/Environmental Studies Group) of Riau.  Herri added, “We understand that in the last 10 years there were only four wildlife poaching and  trade cases in Riau that were prosecuted. Meanwhile the death toll of the endangered species in Riau is horrible.”

Between May and June 2009 seven Sumatran elephants were killed in Riau, and some of them were found tuskless.

In addition to law enforcement against wildlife crime, official and activists also call for a  stop to clearing of natural forests, which is one of the leading drivers of human-tiger conflict in the region.

“Clearance of the remaining natural forests in Sumatra has to stop, not only for protecting the habitat of the endangered Sumatran tigers and elephants and other biodiversity but also for the sake of public safety,” said Pam E. Minnigh from Pusat Informasi Lingkungan Indonesia (PILI).

“To ensure protection of natural forest that give tigers the space to avoid an escalation of human-wildlife conflicts, sustainable land use plans need to be in place and fully implemented,” said Chairul Saleh, Secretary General of ForTRUST (Sumatra Island Land Use Forum). “Last year’s commitment by Sumatra’s ten governors to protect high conservation value areas in Sumatra, restored critical areas, and implement land use plans that promote sustainable development was an important step in that direction”.


For further information, please contact:

Trisnu Danisworo, Kepala Balai Besar Konservasi Sumber Daya Alam (BBKSDA)  Riau,

Telp. +62 (0761) 63135       E-mail:

Syamsidar,  Communications Manager, WWF-Indonesia’s Riau Program Ph +62 8126896095 Email

Herri Tarmizi, Koordinator Bidang Advokasi Kelompok Studi Lingkungan Hidup (KSLH) Riau, Hp: +62 8136500096,

Pam E. Minnigh, PILI, mobile ph +62 811381287, Email

Hariyo T. Wibisono, Forum HarimauKita, ph +62 8121099557, email:

Chairul Saleh, Secretary General of ForTRUST (Sumatra Land Use Plan Forum) PH +62 811102902


Notes to Editor:

· All  four Sumatran tiger killings this year in Riau occurred in Kerumutan forest block, which is adjacent to several pulpwood and palm oil plantation concessions, which are conducting clearing operations. According to the world’s tiger experts,  the Kerumutan landscape is of regional importance as its forest is  of adequate size for tiger movements (Sanderson,, 2006).

· There are estimated to be fewer than 400 Sumatran tigers left in the wild and categorized as Critically Endangered by the IUCN.

· Between 1997 to 2009 at least 56 people and 15 Sumatran tigers (Panthera tigris sumatrae) were killed in Riau Sumatra due to human-tiger conflict. In the same period of time 17 tigers were captured and removed from their original habitat (data compiled by Yayasan PKHS, Universitas Riau and WWF-Indonesia).