Indonesia: Police arrest 'killers' of Riau sun bears in viral video

Rizal Harahap The Jakarta Post 3 Apr 18;

The Indragiri Hilir Police have arrested four people in Riau province on suspicion of killing at least four sun bears, a protected species listed as "vulnerable" on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, following a video that went viral on social media.

The four arrested, all local farmers, have been identified as FS, 33; JS, 51; GS, 34; and JPDS, 39.

A joint team comprising the police, the law enforcement division of the Sumatra Environment and Forestry Office and forest rangers started their investigation upon receiving a viral video showing the capture and killing of sun bears, allegedly in the regency, Indragiri Hilir Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Christian Rony said on Monday evening.

The team discovered that the killings took place on Saturday and found several pieces of evidence, including the sun bears’ skins, meat and gall bladders, as well as the rope that was apparently used to trap the bears, which are rarely encountered in the wild.

The suspected perpetrators confessed to police that they had killed at least four sun bears. During the preliminary investigation, the four said they had initially set up traps for wild boars, but the trap had ensnared three sun bears instead. They said they then killed, skinned and butchered the protected animals to divide the meat among them for personal consumption.

The four added that they found another sun bear in the trap on a separate day. At first, they took the sun bear alive to one of their houses. However, they claimed they shot the bear dead after it became aggressive, said Rony.

The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species lists the sun bear as a vulnerable species with a declining population trend as a result of poaching and widespread deforestation.

Police intend to charge the perpetrators under the 1990 Law on Conservation of Living Natural Resources and Their Ecosystems, which carries a maximum sentence of five years and a maximum fine of Rp 100 million (US$7,270). (dpk/rin)


Indonesians nabbed over sun bear slaughter: police
AFP Yahoo News 3 Apr 18;

Pekanbaru (Indonesia) (AFP) - A group of Indonesians has been arrested after a video emerged of them skinning and cooking four sun bears that they had slaughtered, police said Tuesday.

The men on the island of Sumatra were charged under Indonesia's environment law and could face five years in prison and 100 million rupiah ($7,000)in fines, if convicted, authorities said.

The sun bear -- listed as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature -- is the smallest of the bear species and lives in Southeast Asia's tropical forests and swamps.

But their population is in decline in Indonesia because of rapid deforestation, which has led to habitat loss.

The four bears were caught in traps set by the suspects who later beat or shot them to death, said local police chief Christian Rony.

The men, who range in age from 33 to 51, skinned the bears and cooked their meat.

"They also distributed the meat to other villagers," Rony said, adding that police had seized a gun and airgun pellets from the suspects.

Human-animal conflicts are common across the vast Indonesian archipelago, especially in areas where the clearing of rainforest to make way for palm oil plantations is destroying animals' habitats and bringing them into closer contact with people.

But attacks by the bear are rare in Indonesia.

Last October a sun bear mauled a couple in Sumatra, killing the wife and seriously injuring her husband.

In 2015 a man died when a sun bear mauled him in South Sumatra and in 2009 another lost his fingers and left eye in an assault.


Four in Riau arrested for killing, eating protected sun bears
Rizal Harahap The Jakarta Post 4 Apr 18;

After watching a video that went viral on social media, the Indragiri Hilir Police in Riau have arrested four farmers for allegedly killing four sun bears.

The four suspects, all of whom are residents of Tempuling district, allegedly butchered and consumed the meat of the sun bears, which are protected under the 1990 law on natural resources and ecosystem conservation.

A joint team comprising the police, the Sumatra Environment and Forestry Office law enforcement division and forest rangers started an investigation after watching a viral video showing the capture and killing of the sun bears, allegedly in the regency, Indragiri Hilir Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Christian Rony Putra said on Tuesday.

The team alleged that the killings took place on Saturday and found several pieces of evidence, including bear skin, meat and gall bladders, as well as a spear, knife, air rifle and rope that was apparently used to trap the bears, which are rarely encountered in the wild.

During a preliminary investigation, the four suspects said they had initially set up traps to capture wild boars in Mumpa village, Tempuling, on March 18. Last Saturday, they found that the trap had ensnared three sun bears instead.

They said they then either hit the heads of the bears or speared their necks to kill them before skinning and butchering them. They then divided the bear meat among them for personal
consumption.

The four also told investigators that they found another sun bear in the trap on a different day. At first, they took the sun bear alive to one of their houses.

"The bear was then shot with an air rifle on Sunday. They claimed they had to kill the bear as they were afraid of the bear becoming aggressive," Rony said.

The suspects are now facing charges under the 1990 law, which carries a maximum punishment of five years' imprisonment and Rp 100 million (US$7,270) in fines.


Sun bears trapped and killed, then made into rendang curry
The Star 5 Apr 18;

PETALING JAYA: Four residents in Riau, Indonesia, are facing the threat of jail-time after admitting to catching and killing three sun bears before cooking them into rendang.

According to a BBC Indonesia report, the four men with the initials CS, GS, E and ZDS had caught the sun bears (Helarctos malayanus) with the use of traps.

ZDS admitted to setting up 50 snares on March 18, 2018 to catch pigs together with his three friends.

When checking the traps 12 days later, they found that one sun bear had been caught.

They set up the snares again and caught two more sun bears on April 1.

The animals were then put into cages before being shot with an airgun.

ZDS admitted he used the spoils to cook bear meat rendang, while his other friends turned the gamey meat into soups and gulai (curry-like sauce).

The bile from the bears' livers was also extracted as traditional medicine for breathing problems.

The men claimed they did not know that sun bears are protected animals both in Indonesia and internationally .

They were arrested after the Riau Natural Resources Conservation Agency learned of the incident through social media.

One of the men had uploaded a video of them skinning the bears and then cooking them on Facebook.

They face up to five years in jail and a fine of 100 million rupiah (RM27,000), under Indonesia’s Conservation of Natural Resources and their Ecosystems (1990) law.

The sun bear is the world's smallest bear species, and lives in South-East Asia’s tropical forests.

However, their population is in decline in Indonesia because of rapid deforestation to make way for oil palm plantations, which has led to habitat loss.

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