Police foil attempt to smuggle protected birds, turtles to Malaysia
The Jakarta Post
The Riau Islands Water Police have arrested two people for allegedly attempting to smuggle 11 protected birds and 51 turtles of various species through an illegal port in Batam, Riau Islands, over the weekend.
Riau Islands Water Police director Sr. Comr. Benyamin Sapta said on Monday that the police had followed up on a report from locals who suspected that a boat was being operated by two suspects for the smuggle attempt.
“All the protected animals were to be sent to Malaysia through this illegal port,” Benyamin said.
Further investigation into the case revealed that the birds included seven cockatoos and several Bayan parrots. The birds are endemic to eastern Indonesia, while the 51 turtles are endemic to India or Europe.
“We have invited the natural resources and conservation agency to take care of these animals,” Benyamin said.
He said one of the suspects obtained the animals from an illegal market before preparing to depart to Malaysia to meet the buyer.
The two suspects are suspected of violating Law No. 5/1990 on biodiversity conservation and face a maximum of five years’ imprisonment.
“They claimed they are first-timers, but we will further look into the case,” Benyamin said.
The head of the Batam Region’s Conservation Section Resort, Sugito, confirmed that all of the seized animals were protected under prevailing law and stated that at least one of the Bayan parrots had died.
The agency was also looking into the possibility of returning the animals to their natural habitat. (swd)
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