Indonesia ProFauna Calls for Stricter Law Enforcement on Wildlife Trade

Yuli Krisna Jakarta Globe 22 Jun 13;

Bandung. The illegal trade in protected wildlife continues to flourish in the country amid an absence of law enforcement measures, an animals rights group says.

Radius Nursidi, the West Java coordinator of the group ProFauna Indonesia, attributed the high level of trade being conducted openly in markets and online to a lack of knowledge and awareness about the importance of protecting wildlife.

Radius also blamed the situation on regional Natural Resources Conservation Agencies’ (BKSDA) lack of drive in enforcing the law and the police’s lack of understanding about endangered wildlife.

“It’s because efforts made by the BKSDA in enforcing the law have not been intensive, while police officers also don’t understand the issue,” he said on Thursday.

Radius also lamented the fact that many government officials kept wildlife as pets for the sake of prestige.

Radius said the 1990 Natural Resources Conservation Law prohibited people from capturing, hurting, killing, keeping, owning, transporting or trading in any form of wildlife deemed protected.

Violations are punishable by a sentence of up to five years prison and fine of Rp 100 million ($10,100).

At a rally in Bandung on Thursday, ProFauna Indonesia called on people to not purchase wildlife, saying it could lead to severe disruption of the ecosystem.

“It will certainly lead to extinction. It’s true that people may take good care of the animals, but in terms of function they no longer have any role [in keeping balance] in nature,” Radius said.

“Wild species’ role in nature is to maintain the ecosystem.”

He said that often the animal were ill-treated, as in the case of the Javan slow loris, whose canine teeth are yanked out before they are sold as pets.

However, most people are unaware that the nocturnal primate can only survive for up to six months after the teeth are pulled out, Radius said.

“If such a cycle is maintained, the population of the Javan slow loris will continue to decline and it will eventually become extinct,” he said.

He said the loris currently sold for Rp 250,000 to Rp 500,000, while eagles could be had for Rp 1.5 million to Rp 5 million and wild cats for Rp 350,000 to Rp 500,000.

“It’s time for the Forestry Ministry and the police to enforce the law,” he said.