ProFauna Indonesia, wildlife protection and conservation activists, in Bandung, West Java, have called on the public not to buy protected animals in an effort to save endangered wildlife.
They regard the challenge of eradicating the trade in such animals as no easy task as the transactions are carried out clandestinely.
West Java chapter ProFauna coordinator Radius Nursidi said that based on a survey by his team from January to May this year, three locations were found to be places where sales of protected wildlife were conducted, including the Sukahaji bird market and in front of the Bandung Indah Plaza.
“We found the Javan slow loris, Bido snake eagle, yellow-crested cockatoo and red-and-black-headed parrot,” said Radius.
He said the Javan slow loris was subject to trading, but not many people knew that the animal was protected.
Since 2000, according to Radius, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has published 25 primate species that are on the verge of extinction around the world.
Of the 25 species, four of them hail from Indonesia – the Sumatran orangutan, Siau tarsier, Javan slow loris and Simakubo pig-tailed langur.
The government banned protected-wildlife trading through Law No. 5/1990 on biological natural resource conservation and ecosystem, he said. According to the law, it is prohibited to catch, harm, kill, keep, transport or trade protected wildlife, whether alive or dead.
“Those found violating any element of the law could face five years in prison and pay a fine of Rp 100 million [US$10,500],” said Radius.
Separately, West Java Natural Resource Conservation Agency (BKSDA) head Ae Priatna said protected-animal ownership among the community had prevailed due to the high selling prices.
He cited the example of the Sumatran tiger which could fetch more than Rp 65 million on the black market, while the price of a cockatoo and eagle ranged between Rp 15 million and Rp 25 million.
Ae said his agency had carried out raids and public campaigns to curb wildlife trading. In several operations this year, he added, BKSDA seized a number of bird species, such as eagles and peacocks, as well as the slow loris.
The animals were confiscated from traders operating at Bandung Indah Plaza, Gasibu Square, Cadas Pangeran and several other locations. “We have handed the animals to the zoo as a conservation place,” he said.
Regarding law enforcement efforts against offenders, West Java Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Martinus Sitompul said police had not handled cases related to wildlife trading in the last three years.