Much of Indonesia’s wildlife is threatened by environmental pressures, along with the constant danger of poachers. This includes some of Earth’s most magnificent and rarest of creatures, from the Sumatran rhino and Sumatran tiger to pangolins, orangutans, and the Borneo elephant. So, in a stand against the illegal wildlife trade, the country’s authorities have set alight to a bundle of wildlife trophies – including animal skins, ivory, and some surprised-looking stuffed Sumatran tigers.
Officials from the Indonesian Forestry Ministry and Aceh's Nature Conservation Agency burnt the trophies in Banda Aceh, Indonesia on Monday, May 23. They describing the burning as “part of their campaign to fight illegal poaching."
Sumatran tigers are the smallest surviving subspecies of tiger, with just 400 existing in the wild. Even so, an estimated 40 of these tigers die every year as a result of poachers, accounting for about 78 percent of their deaths. As such, the government has recently upped its game by conducting raids, recovering numerous objects from the illegal wildlife trade, including the stuffed tigers as well as the other items shown below, in the fight against the $19 billion illigal poaching industry.
Objects from the animal wildlife trade recently recovered by the Indonesian government. Chaideer Mahyuddin/Stringer/Getty Images
In a similar move against the illegal wildlife trade, Kenya recently set fire to its entire ivory stockpile in a record-breaking event that saw 105 tonnes (115 tons) of trafficked ivory go up in smoke.
Nevertheless, the burning of ivory and other relics of the wildlife trade remains a contentious issue among conservationists and authorities. For many it acts as a strong symbol of the government’s zero-tolerance stance against poaching and the wildlife trade. On the other hand, some argue that removing the items from the commercial market increases the scarcity of the objects and therefore further increases their market value.
Additionally, as was the case with Kenya last month, many feel it is often an empty gesture used to create the illusion authorities are addressing the issue.