Another Illegal Wildlife Trading Ring Uncovered in Jakarta

Fidelis E. Satriastanti Jakarta Globe 17 Aug 12;

Authorities have uncovered a second illegal wildlife trading operation in the space of less than a month, seizing endangered animal pelts during a raid on a house in Cilandak, South Jakarta, on Tuesday night.

Darori, the Forestry Ministry’s director general of nature conservation and forest protection, said his office had managed to scupper an attempt to sell the pelt of a Sumatran tiger and a Javan leopard.

Officers also arrested four people at the house. One of them, identified only as R.S., has been identified as an illegal wildlife trafficker and named a suspect by the police.

He has been charged with trading in protected animal parts under the 1990 Natural Resources Conservation Law, for which he could get up to five years in prison and up to Rp 100 million ($10,500) in fines.

Tuesday’s raid comes just four weeks after police seized dozens of stuffed rare animals and pelts from a suspected taxidermist in Depok.

The stuffed animals confiscated in the July 17 bust included 14 tigers, two leopards, one clouded leopard, a lion, three bears and a tapir. There were also two sacks full of tiger pelts, as well as a stuffed tiger head and four mounted deer heads.

The Sumatran tiger and Javan leopard are classified as critically endangered species, one step away from being extinct. Trading in or possession of these protected animals or their parts is a criminal offense.

The suspect, Feri, has also been charged under the Natural Resources Conservation Law and faces up to five years in prison.

His arrest came a day after Greenpeace Indonesia reported that the Sumatran tiger, one of the most threatened of the remaining six tiger subspecies in the world, was disappearing from the wild at a rate of around 51 animals a year.

The World Wide Fund for Nature recently identified Indonesia as a key country of origin for tiger parts and elephant ivory in the illegal trade of wild animal parts.

In its “Wildlife Crime Scorecard” released last month, it rated the government as “failing on key aspects of compliance or enforcement.”

“Although Indonesia has increased its efforts to protect wild tiger populations and detect illegal trade, there remains a significant enforcement gap for tigers at the retail level, with Sumatra having a significant illegal domestic market for tiger parts,” the report said.

Additional reporting from Antara