Wildlife traders sent to prison in Indonesia
Following a joint raid earlier this year by the Forestry Department, International Animal Rescue and the Institute of Animal Advocacy (LASA), two traders in Jatinegara market, Jakarta, Indonesia were arrested. They have now been sentenced to 20 months and 19 months imprisonment by the Magistrates Court in Jakarta for selling protected species of wildlife. Both were charged under the 1990 wildlife law which carries a sentence of up to five years in prison and a one million rupiah fine (about US $110).
Agus Sobari pleaded guilty to selling a Leopard cat (Felis bengalensis), four slow lorises (Nycticebus coucang), two Malayan porcupines (Hystrix brachyura), and an otter civet (Cynogale bennetti) illegally. The second man – Sarwo - was convicted of trading one leopard cat, four slow lorises, and two Black-winged kites (Elanus caeruleus).
The presiding judge, Siswandriyono, warned the traders that people should earn a living in a sustainable manner and that there was no excuse for making money in a way that threatened the survival of rare and endangered species.
Some of the animals were in very poor condition, particularly an injured porcupine and an adult slow loris with a damaged eye. They were handed over to the Tegal Alur government rescue centre.
Femke Den Haas of IAR was involved in the raid and said she was pleased with the traders’ sentence. She added that more raids should be undertaken in Jakarta and Surabaya "because there are still many big protected wildlife traders out there and they are trading freely in protected wildlife."
Alan Knight, CEO of International Animal Rescue, added: "This sentence sends out a strong message to illegal dealers in Indonesian wildlife that they will no longer get away with their vile trade. IAR has recently established a new rescue centre in Bogor to rehabilitate primates that have been caught from the wild and sold in the markets as pets. But the real solution to the problem lies in effective enforcement of the law against illegal wildlife trafficking and severe punishment for those who refuse to respect it.
"We will be ready and willing to support the Forestry Department and the police again in future should they need our support to catch other hardened wildlife criminals."