The Jakarta Post
The Environment and Forestry Ministry has said that its newly revised list of protected flora and fauna is not retroactive and, therefore, owners of protected birds that were obtained prior to the enactment of the list are not subject to prosecution.
Birds dominate the revised list with 564 species, including songbirds like the white-rumped shama and the Javan white-eye, which are popular as cage birds.
Activists have lauded the new list, which was introduced last month to promote sustainability and the proper treatment of protected animals and plants.
Under the 1990 law on natural resources and ecosystem conservation, those who trade or keep protected flora or fauna face up to five years in prison or Rp 100 million (US$6,929) in fines.
However, the ministry said the new policy stirred concerns among bird owners, as hoaxes and false information on the policy recently went viral.
“It [the new policy] is not retroactive,” the ministry’s director general for natural resources and ecosystem, Wiratno, said in a press release on Tuesday.
“So it is not true that people who kept or bred birds such as the Javan-white eye [before the new list was enacted] will be prosecuted,” he said.
Owners of protected birds have been urged to notify the ministry, which is currently drafting guidelines for bird-singing contests to allow bird lovers to uphold local traditions without putting conservation efforts at risk. (ipa)