Indonesia: Police discover illegal wildlife trade in C.Java

Suherdjoko Suherdjoko Jakarta Post 7 Apr 16;

The Central Java Police have confiscated hundreds of protected sea creature shells from a store in Cilacap, Central Java, during an operation to curb illegal wildlife trade in the province on April 1. During a separate operation in early February the Central Java Police had seized six eagles and one spotted kestrel that had been illegally raised by a Semarang resident.

The Central Java Police special crime investigation division chief Sr.Comr. Edhy Moestofa said on Thursday that the police had confiscated shells and other body parts of protected species from a vendor selling wildlife and animal parts and products.

The confiscated parts and products included eight hawksbill sea turtle carapaces, three turtle shells, 342 turtle carapace-made bangles, 40 carapace-made rings, 33 horned helmet shells, 42 Triton’s trumpet shells, 68 pearly nautilus shells, 155 trochus shells, 40 fluted giant clam shells and 25 maxima clam shells, which had been carved into ashtrays.

The police also confiscated four largetooth sawfish spouts.

“We confiscated those goods in Cilacap from a suspect identified only as SG, a vendor of wildlife and animal parts and products. SG got them from suppliers. We are still tracing the suppliers who provided the illegal goods to the suspect. The wildlife and animal parts and products were sold at a small store in Cilacap and also marketed in several areas around Cilacap. Some of the goods were exported to other Southeast Asian countries,” said Edhy.

He said the police obtained information on the trade of sea creature shells and preserved turtles from the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), an NGO which had begun to investigate the protected species trade three months ago.

“We found the wildlife parts and products in Cilacap. We also believe that similar goods have also been marketed as souvenirs for tourists at various beaches. We have contacted the police, as they have the law enforcement authority to take legal action against them,” WCS Wildlife Crime Unit coordinator Irma Hermawati said.

SG is considered to have violated Article 21 and Article 40 of Law No.5/1990 on the conservation of biodiversity and its ecosystem. SG faces a maximum one-year prison term and a maximum Rp 50 million (US$3,793.63) fine. The suspect’s case dossier has been handed over to the Prosecutor’s Office.

Earlier in February, the police confiscated seven protected wild bird species from their owners in Tlumpak village, Tembalang district, Semarang. The confiscated birds comprised one spotted kestrel, two crested hawk-eagles, one black eagle and two white-tailed eagles.

The seven protected wild bird species have been entrusted at an agro tourism center belonging to Hotel Candi Baru in Semarang and at the Dolphin Center Unit IV of the Indonesia Safari Park.

Adj.Sr.Comr.Ferry Irawan of the Central Java Police special crime directorate said the police had named the various owners of the birds as suspects as they were considered to have violated Article 21 (2) Law No.5/1990 on the conservation of biodiversity and its ecosystem, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a Rp 100 million fine.

“From our investigation, we found that the eagles had been trained to participate in competitions,” he said. (ebf)

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