Three critically endangered Sumatran tigers were found dead at the end of April 2022 after being caught in snares on the Indonesian island of Sumatra. A female and a male tiger were found dead after being caught by a snare near a palm oil plantation in the East Aceh district of Aceh province. The body of another female tiger was found hours later about 500 meters away with a snare still embedded in her almost-severed neck and legs. 

Agus Arianto, who heads the conservation agency in Aceh, said, “An autopsy was underway by a team of veterinarians to determine the causes of the tigers’ death… Several traps similar to ones used to capture wild boars on farms were found in the area around the dead tigers.”

Unfortunately, these killings are not exceptional. In October 2021, a female tiger was found dead with injuries caused by a snare trap in Bukit Batu wildlife reserve in the Bengkalis district of Riau province. Two months earlier three tigers were found dead in the Leuser Ecosystem Area, a forested region for tiger conservation in Aceh and North Sumatra provinces.

Snare traps are commonly used by farmers on Sumatra to catch wild boars, which they persecute because these native animals eat the plants the farmers planted when they removed the forest where the boars live. Poachers have also used snare traps to kill endangered wildlife for trafficking, such as selling their bodies to foreign trophy hunters.  Under Indonesia’s Conservation of Natural Resources and Ecosystems law, those who intentionally kill protected animals would face up to five years in prison and a fine of 100 million rupiahs ($7,000). The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has estimated that there are only 400 Sumatran tigers left, but these deaths would be equally tragic if they were one million. In fact, domestic cats are also caught and killed by snares, which are still legal in the UK, Ireland, France, Spain, Belgium and most of the USA, among other countries.