Indonesia: Kalla Calls for End to Illegal Ivory Trade, Stresses Environmental Conservation

Novi Setuningsih, Ari Supriyanti Rikin & Ratri M. Siniwi Jakarta Globe 9 Jun 16;

Jakarta. Vice President Jusuf Kalla has called for action against the illegal trade in ivory and stressed the importance environmental conservation practices in the archipelago during the opening of the Indonesia Environment and Forestry Week 2016 conference in Jakarta on Thursday (09/06).

The 20th conference, hosted by the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, follows a theme of "Conserving Plants and Wildlife for Life," in line with United Nations Environment Program's (UNEP) international theme of "Go Wild for Life."

The vice president spoke about the importance of endangered wildlife conservation and prohibiting the trade of ivory by enforcing legal consequences both domestically and internationally. He also explained that ivory should not be seen as a symbol of pride.

"Firstly, it is a crime to cut off an elephant's tusk for commercial purposes [or otherwise], and secondly, it also leads to the destruction of forests. Ivory should not be allowed anymore. Globally, the ivory trade has been banned and anybody found selling ivory is a criminal," Kalla stressed. "It used to be a symbol of pride in every home and even in the State Palace, but now it is banned."

In his speech, the vice president talked about the importance of conserving wildlife as it plays a vital role in the preservation of the environment.

"If we still have elephants, orangutans, anoa, butterflies, it means the forests are healthy. If the forests are healthy, it means the water is healthy. If the water is healthy, means rice fields are harvesting – it means there is life," Kalla added.

At the forum, he also emphasized that in order for environmental goals to be realized, the public must join in the battle against climate change, or all calls for action will be in vain.

"We must work together for a better life and for our grandchildren. If not, we will be at risk of having no access to healthy food or water," he said.

The vice president also urged law enforcement agencies to act strongly against environmental offenders, including companies who do not have sustainable waste management practices at their factories.

Additionally, transnational organized crime involving wildlife has become a multi-billion-dollar industry, and Indonesia has pledged to fight this.

"As the vice president has mentioned, our habitat must be well-maintained and as well as our waters. The public campaign of environmental management is crucial as it helps to raise awareness for everyone and to help people understand and care more about the environment," Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya Bakar said.

According to a recent study published on the environmental website Mongabay on Wednesday, the UN and Interpol estimated that global environmental crime amounted to $258 billion in 2015, compared to $213 billion in 2014.

Animal Trafficking on the Rise With 50 Cases Reported Annually
Vento Saudale & Mikhael Tamosee Jakarta Globe 14 Jun 16;

Jakarta. Over 50 cases of animal trafficking are reported to the Ministry of Environment and Forestry each year, with that number expected to climb, an official said on Saturday (11/06).

Rasio Ridho Sani, directorate general of law enforcement at the ministry, said the average number of cases the ministry deals with annually is 50, with investigators reporting an increase in trafficking.

Sixteen cases of animal trafficking have been reported in the first half of 2016, with the tally expected to rise throughout the year, Rasio said.

In a recent case, investigators foiled an attempt to smuggle 1,220 pig-snout turtles at the Timika airport in Papua.

“In West Jakarta, we found 30 preserved animals. Some were adult and baby tigers, bears and birds. We are still investigating the owner,” Rasio Ridho said in Bogor.

Trafficking is increasingly stemmed from the internet, via social media and online shops, making it difficult to track suppliers and shoppers with most purchases coming from international customers, he said.

In the fight to stop wildlife crimes, the ministry has increased security in regional areas, especially in conservation areas of national parks. Rasio added that the police force must expand as currently it cannot cover all forest areas.

“The influence from locals is very crucial in forest conservation, which is the root of poaching,” Rasio said. “Other than enforcing the law, we also make sure the locals understand how important it is to protect the animals, and to prevent hunting or trading animals.”

Last week, Vice President Jusuf Kalla called for action in the illegal trade in ivory and stressed the importance of environmental conservation practices.

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