Endangered Sumatran tiger fetuses found in jar

Five people have been arrested for poaching a protected Sumatran Tiger in Indonesia, after authorities discovered a dead tiger with four of its fetuses in a jar, state media news agency Antara has reported.

A team made up of police and officials from the Environment and Forestry Ministry were tipped off about suspected poaching by locals in Teluk Binjai Village, in the country’s Pelalawan District on the island of Sumatra, the ministry told Antara.

They arrested three suspects on Saturday and found the four fetuses being kept in a plastic jar. Later, two more suspects were arrested by officials.

A piece of adult tiger skin was also confiscated in Pangkalan Lesung Village as part of the operation.

The suspects face a maximum of five years in prison and a 100 million rupiah ($7,100) fine.

Sumatran tigers are critically endangered. As recently as 1978 more than 1,000 lived on Sumatra, but thanks to rapid deforestation and rampant poaching their numbers have dropped to around 400, charities including the WWF estimate. The once-lush green island has lost more than half its forest cover since 1985.

According to TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring arm of WWF and IUCN, poachers kill at least 40 Sumatran tigers per year, and the killing is made easier as their habitat shrinks.