Indonesia: Protected birds allegedly traded freely in Riau

Rizal Harahap The Jakarta Post 14 Feb 19;

Forest rangers of the Riau Natural Resource Conservation Center (BBKSDA) have rescued 32 purple herons in two locations on Monday and Tuesday.

The protected birds – locally known as cangak merah – were seized from locals who were trading them on sidewalks. Fourteen of the birds were seized on Tuesday on a section of Jl. Lintas Pekanbaru.

Forest rangers Putrapper and M. Hendri spotted the birds while heading to the Bukit Rimbang Bukit Baling Wildlife Reserve on the border of the regencies Kampar and Kuantan Singingi.

“They found out that the birds were allegedly being sold by a youth named Dani from Kampung Pinang subdistrict, Perhentian Raja district, Kampar," Riau BBKSDA spokesperson Dian Indriati said on Wednesday.

Dani told the rangers he did not know that the birds were protected animals.

“The forest rangers promptly seized the birds and told the trader and other people at the site about the purple heron’s status as a protected species,” Dian said.

A day earlier, officers from the Riau BBKSDA’s Region I Division had seized another 18 purple herons from a section on Jl. Lintas Pematang Reba in Rengat Barat district, Indragiri Hulu regency, Dian said.

“The 18 birds are currently in the care of the Division Region I office in Rengat,” Dian said, adding that the other 14 were in the transit cage at the Riau BBKSDA office in Pekanbaru for observation before further measures would be taken for their conservation. (swa)