Indonesia: Two Nabbed in N. Sumatra for Selling Endangered Slow Lorises

Mei Leandha, Issha Harruma & Ratri M. Siniwi Jakarta Globe 19 Sep 16;

Jakarta. Despite a declaration late last year by the International Union for Conservation of Nature that the Javan slow loris, or Nycticebus javanicus, is one step away from extinction, many of the critically endangered primates are still being illegally traded in markets across the archipelago.

A father and son duo, only identified by the initials P. and B.H., were arrested by law enforcement officials of the Ministry of the Environment and Forestry in Deli Serdang, North Sumatra, on Saturday (17/09) for selling slow lorises.

The two were found with a sack containing nine slow lorises, which they reportedly offered for sale at Rp 100,000 ($7.60) per animal.

"The perpetuator claims that the slow lorises were captured in his banana plantation, after they were seen eating [bananas]. We have confiscated nine slow lorises, and now the two suspects are under investigation," Halasan Tulus, head of the ministry's Sumatra's law enforcement office, told news outlet on Monday.

According to a report by news platform Republika, Halasan suspects that the older suspect is part of a larger illegal protected wildlife trade network. Officials hope his arrest will help them uncover the rest of the network.

"We will release [the slow lorises] in their habitat soon. The population [of slow lorises] has declined due to numerous incidents of illegal hunting and trade," Halasan said.

Indra, coordinator of the ministry's forest and wildlife protection unit, has promised to keep a close eye on the alleged perpetrator, as it is apparently not his first involvement in the illegal wildlife trade.

"He's not a new player – we noted that he's been selling slow lorises four times," Indra said.

The father and son duo will be charged with violating the Law on Conservation of Natural Resources and Ecosystems, which carries penalties of up to five years in prison and fines of up to Rp 100 million.