蘇門答臘虎在2007年世界保育聯盟（IUCN）瀕危物種紅名單上被列為極危（Critically Endangered）物種。在瀕危野生動植物種國際貿易公約（Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species，CITES）規範之下，這種老虎活體或是身體部位的交易行為都是被禁止的。
Body parts of critically endangered Sumatran tigers are being openly sold in Indonesia despite international and Indonesian laws forbidding it and a recent Indonesian government commitment to protect the animals, according to a report issued Tuesday by TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network.
Tiger body parts, including canine teeth, claws, skin pieces, whiskers and bones, were on sale in 10 percent of the 326 retail outlets surveyed during 2006 in 28 cities and towns across Sumatra, the investigators found.
Outlets for tiger parts included goldsmiths, souvenir and traditional Chinese medicine shops, and shops selling antique and precious stones.
The survey conservatively estimates that 23 tigers were killed to supply the products seen, based on the number of canine teeth on sale.
"This is down from an estimate of 52 killed per year in 1999–2002," said Julia Ng, program officer with TRAFFIC Southeast Asia and lead author on report, "The Tiger Trade Revisited in Sumatra, Indonesia."
"Sadly, she said, "the decline in availability appears to be due to the dwindling number of tigers left in the wild."
Tiger parts, especially the bones and penis have long been used in Chinese Traditional Medicines. The bones are used to treat rheumatism while the penis is soaked in wine and drunk as an aphrodisiac. In Sumatra, tiger parts are often used for magical purposes. They are made into jewelry believed to confer good luck and protection on the wearer.
"Small pieces of skins are used to protect the owner from black magic or used by a Shaman to cast black magic spells on others," the TRAFFIC report states.
In Indonesia today, wild tigers are found only on the island of Sumatra following the extinction of the Bali tiger and the Javan tiger during the last century.
The Sumatran tiger is listed as Critically Endangered on the 2007 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Trade in live tigers or tiger parts is banned under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.
Within Indonesia, the tiger is a Protected species under the Act No.5 of 1990 Concerning Conservation of Living Resources and their Ecosystems, which prohibits killing, possession, transfer/transport and trade in live, dead or parts of Protected species and provides for a large fine and a long prison term for violators.
So the problem is not a lack of laws, it is a lack of law enforcement, TRAFFIC concludes.
All intelligence information obtained on the names and addresses of retail outlets selling tiger parts from TRAFFIC's 1999–2002 survey were given to the Indonesian authorities, at province and federal level, prior to the report being published. But TRAFFIC says, "Unfortunately, little or no action was taken by the Indonesian authorities against these retail outlets selling tiger parts or the retail outlets' owners."
"Because of poor enforcement the Sumatran tiger is slipping through our fingers," said Leigh Henry, program officer for TRAFFIC North America.