Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Illegal orangutan trader prosecuted

24.02.2012
The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme (SOCP) announced today Sumatra's first ever successful sentence of an illegal orangutan owner and trader in Medan, North Sumatra, Indonesia.
The seven-month prison sentence is only the third for Indonesia, despite orangutans being strictly protected under Indonesian law since 1924.

Although there have been over 2,500 confiscations of illegally held orangutans in Indonesia since the early 1970's, the first actual prosecution of an illegal orangutan owner occurred in Borneo in 2010, and now in Sumatra with this case in 2012.

The case began with the confiscation of a young male orangutan named Julius last July in Mardinding, Karo District, in the province of North Sumatra. The owner was allegedly trying to sell the orangutan, which was believed to be three years old.

The raid was conducted by the Indonesian Ministry of Forestry's Directorate-General for Forest Protection and Nature Conservation (PHKA), working in conjunction with WCS's Wildlife Crime Unit and the veterinarian and staff of the SOCP.

The Wildlife Crime Unit, created by WCS in 2003 and funded by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and other donors, provides data and technical advice to law enforcement agencies to support the investigation and prosecution of wildlife crimes.

The SOCP, implemented by the Swiss-based PanEco Foundation, and the Indonesian NGO YEL (Foundation for a Sustainable Ecosystem) have operated the only orangutan rescue center in Sumatra since 2001 and have so far reintroduced over 150 confiscated ex-pet orangutans back to the wild. Julius is now being cared for at the SOCP's orangutan quarantine center near Medan, with just over 50 other orangutans also being prepared for a return to the forest.

After spending 30 days in quarantine, Julius is now living in a socialization cage, which allows him to adapt to the presence of other orangutans. Though the road to full rehabilitation might still be a long one, Julius is making excellent progress and is expected to be released back into the wild in the future.

The sentence reflects an increase in activity and action to combat the illegal wildlife trade in Indonesia in recent years. In the last two years there have been more than 20 arrests for illegally possessing or trading protected wildlife, including the critically endangered Sumatran tiger and pangolin.

The prosecution is in full compliance with the Indonesian Government's own National Orangutan Conservation Strategy and Action plan, launched in 2007.

The majority of illegal pet orangutans are a byproduct of forest clearance for palm oil plantations and of conflicts between farmers and orangutans that raid crops in converted agricultural areas. In most cases, they are not hunted specifically for food or trade in Sumatra, but are more "refugees" from forests that no longer exist.

Conservationists believe Julius's mother was killed at the time of his capture. Relatively few orangutans are actively traded in Sumatra, but the SOCP and PHKA still confiscate around 30 illegal pets each year, whose mothers have been killed.

The Head of Natural Resources Conservancy Agency (BBKSDA) North Sumatra, Arief Tongkagie, said: "Based on the successful completion of this case, our hope is that in the future more people will be willing to report crimes against orangutans".

According to Panut, Chairman of the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Forum (FOKUS): "Increased efforts to curb crimes against orangutans will provide a deterrent effect to traders."

The Wildlife Conservation Society is actively trying to reduce the damaging impact of the illegal wildlife trade.

"We commend Indonesia's Ministry of Forestry's Directorate-General for Forest Protection and Nature Conservation (PHKA) for taking a hard stance on wildlife trade, which is threatening to destroy the country's natural resources," said Dr Noviar Andayani, Director of the WCS Indonesia Program. "We are hopeful that this prosecution sends a clear message that illegal wildlife trade will not be tolerated in Indonesia."

Live orangutans sold in Indonesia, or exported illegally to neighboring countries, are kept as pets or in private collections. Other wildlife traded for food, medicines, skins, biomedical research, souvenirs and pets from Indonesia include rhinos, elephants, tigers, birds, bears, orchids, marine and freshwater fish, turtles, fragrant timber, pangolins, corals, snakes, bats, sharks, and rodents.

"Working closely with law enforcement is a key component in the fight against illegal wildlife trade," said Joe Walston, WCS Executive Director for Asia programs. "If governments want to protect their wildlife resources, they need to be serious about enforcement. Clearly Indonesia is taking a lead on this front."

Ian Singleton, Director of Conservation for the PanEco Foundation and the person in charge of the SOCP, said: "It's absolutely fantastic to finally have a prosecution of an illegal orangutan 'owner' in Sumatra, but it's also long overdue. With this sentence, as long as it is widely publicized in the region, anyone considering capturing, killing or keeping an orangutan illegally will certainly think twice about it, and hopefully the numbers being killed and kept in the coming years will begin to decline."
Support for the Wildlife Crimes Unit comes from the Great Ape Conservation Fund, administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The program has seen a dip in funding in recent years; Congress is currently considering funding levels for the Great Ape Conservation Fund and other related species accounts for the Fiscal Year 2013 and WCS backs full and robust support for these investments.

Wildlife Conservation Society
www.wcs.org
SOCP: Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme
(www.sumatranorangutan.org)
PanEco Foundation
(www.paneco.ch)
Yayasan Ekosistem Lestari (YEL)
www.yelweb.org)
PHKA: Perlindungan Hutan dan Konservasi Alam, the Indonesian Ministry of Forestry's department of Forest Protection and Nature Conservation:

This is "Julius," a baby orangutan saved from an illegal trader in North Sumatra, Indonesia. He is expected to be released back into the wild in the near future. Credit: WCS

www.dephut.go.id

Stephen Sautner | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.wcs.org

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht New approach for environmental test on livestock drugs
27.07.2016 | Universität Zürich

nachricht Managing an endangered river across the US-Mexico border
18.07.2016 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Streamlining accelerated computing for industry

PyFR code combines high accuracy with flexibility to resolve unsteady turbulence problems

Scientists and engineers striving to create the next machine-age marvel--whether it be a more aerodynamic rocket, a faster race car, or a higher-efficiency jet...

Im Focus: X-ray optics on a chip

Waveguides are widely used for filtering, confining, guiding, coupling or splitting beams of visible light. However, creating waveguides that could do the same for X-rays has posed tremendous challenges in fabrication, so they are still only in an early stage of development.

In the latest issue of Acta Crystallographica Section A: Foundations and Advances , Sarah Hoffmann-Urlaub and Tim Salditt report the fabrication and testing of...

Im Focus: Piggyback battery for microchips: TU Graz researchers develop new battery concept

Electrochemists at TU Graz have managed to use monocrystalline semiconductor silicon as an active storage electrode in lithium batteries. This enables an integrated power supply to be made for microchips with a rechargeable battery.

Small electrical gadgets, such as mobile phones, tablets or notebooks, are indispensable accompaniments of everyday life. Integrated circuits in the interiors...

Im Focus: UCI physicists confirm possible discovery of fifth force of nature

Light particle could be key to understanding dark matter in universe

Recent findings indicating the possible discovery of a previously unknown subatomic particle may be evidence of a fifth fundamental force of nature, according...

Im Focus: Wi-fi from lasers

White light from lasers demonstrates data speeds of up to 2 GB/s

A nanocrystalline material that rapidly makes white light out of blue light has been developed by KAUST researchers.

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

The energy transition is not possible without Geotechnics

25.08.2016 | Event News

New Ideas for the Shipping Industry

24.08.2016 | Event News

A week of excellence: 22 of the world’s best computer scientists and mathematicians in Heidelberg

12.08.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Cell-compatible OLEDs for use with patients

29.08.2016 | Medical Engineering

Symmetry crucial for building key biomaterial collagen in the lab

26.08.2016 | Health and Medicine

Volcanic eruption masked acceleration in sea level rise

26.08.2016 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>