An endangered Sumatran tiger found with serious arrow wounds all over its body was rescued from a wire trap in protected Indonesian jungle, officials said Tuesday.
The five-year-old male tiger was found on Monday in Bengkulu province on the lush island of Sumatra with nine arrow wounds estimated to be four days old, Bengkulu’s conservation agency chief Supartono told AFP.
“When we found him, he was lying weak on the ground with his front left leg held up in the air, entangled in a wire trap attached to a tree branch,” Supartono said.
The trap was likely set up by poachers looking to sell the rare animal’s body parts on illegal markets, Supartono said.
“They use steel wire to trap it by the leg so it doesn’t destroy its body. These traps are designed for tigers, not the wild boars that the community here hunt.”
Supartono said it was likely local people had shot the arrows at the tiger out of fear after finding it trapped in the forest.
The conservation agency found several similar traps in the province last year and was working with police to find a suspected group of poachers.
There are fewer than 400 Sumatran tigers left and environmental activists say the animals are increasingly coming into conflict with people as their natural habitat is rapidly deforested.
Earlier this month, Thai customs officials seized four boxes of smuggled tiger skins and bones worth $60,000 believed to be en route from Indonesia to China.
Bangkok-based anti-trafficking group Freeland said that poaching and trafficking of tiger meat, bones and skin was a key cause of a precipitous decline in Asia’s wild tiger populations.
Numbers are estimated to have fallen to only 3,200 tigers worldwide, from approximately 100,000 a century ago.