London, February 13 : Tiger parts are being widely sold in Sumatra despite fewer than 500 big cats remaining in the wild, warns a report.
Traffic, a wildlife monitoring network which works with WWF and the World Conservation Union, says that tiger's teeth, claws, skin and whiskers are believed to bring good luck to those who wear them and to give protection from black magic.
The group has also revealed that the bones of the right front paw are sometimes "infused" in a glass of warm water, which is then drunk to treat headaches.
However, the report also mentions that the illegal trade has started to appear like an increasingly unsustainable and unsavoury business because of the dwindling number of tigers.
Of the 326 shops surveyed by the group across the Indonesian island of Sumatra in 2006, 33 were found to be selling body parts amounting to at least 23 tigers.
"This is down from an estimate of 52 killed per year in 1999-2000. Sadly, the decline appears to be due to the dwindling number of tigers left in the wild," New Scientist magazine quoted Julia Ng, lead author on new report, as saying.
The report also reveals that conservation groups are unhappy with the Indonesian government's failure in protecting the tiger subspecies despite ample evidence of their decline.
The World Conservation Union classifies the Sumatran tiger as critically endangered species.
Traffic ran a first survey of shops between 1999 and 2002 to help protect tigers. The names and addresses of the outlets selling tiger parts at the time were handed over to Indonesian authorities.
"If Indonesian authorities need enforcement help from the international community they should ask for it. If not, they should demonstrate they are taking enforcement seriously," says Heather Sohl of WWF.
In December 2007, the Indonesian president announced a 10-year strategy to protect the Sumatran tiger.