Three critically endangered Sumatran tigers, including two cubs, have been found dead on Indonesia’s Sumatra island after being caught in traps apparently set by a poacher, authorities have said.
The mother and a female cub were found dead on Tuesday in the Leuser Ecosystem Area, a forested region for tiger conservation in Aceh province, Agus Arianto, head of the conservation agency, said.
The body of a male cub was found on Thursday about five metres (15 feet) away, he added.
Examinations determined they had died from infected wounds caused by traps, Mr Arianto said.
The conservationist said several traps similar to ones used to capture wild pigs on farms had been found in the area of the bodies.
“Setting traps for pigs in a conservation area is very unlikely,” Mr Arianto said.
“This was intended to poach endangered animals for economic gain.”
He said his agency would co-operate with law enforcement agencies in an investigation.
Sumatran tigers, the most critically endangered tiger subspecies, are under increasing pressure due to poaching as their jungle habitat shrinks, according to the IUCN Red List Of Threatened Species.
It estimated that fewer than 400 Sumatran tigers remained in the wild.
It was the latest in a series of killings of endangered animals on Sumatra island.
Conservationists have warned that the coronavirus pandemic has led to increased poaching as villagers turn to hunting for economic reasons.
Early last month, a female tiger was found dead with injuries caused by a snare trap in South Aceh district.
An elephant was found without a head on July 11 at a palm plantation in East Aceh. Police arrested an alleged poacher along with four people accused of buying ivory taken from the dead animal.
Aceh police also arrested four men in June for allegedly poaching a tiger with a snare trap and selling its remains for 100 million rupiah (£5,035). Days later, another Sumatran tiger died after it ate a goat laced with rat poison in neighbouring North Sumatra province.