On Facebook: Sunbear Got Decorticated and Eaten in Berau, East Borneo

BERAU, tribunkaltim.co.id - The lives of protected and endangered wildlife species in East Borneo is getting more threatened. After the orangutan slaughter case which had dragged the convict into jail, recently an act of sunbear killing has caught the public's attention.

pembantaian beruang madu di KaltimThe hunt, which was followed by slaughter of the poor Sun Bear (Helarctos malayanus) was documented and the horrible photo were uploaded on Facebook. From the caption, it is assumed that the photo was taken in Berau, East Borneo.

The Chief Communication officer of Berau Police Department, AKP Marwoto, confirmed the Sun Bear hunt. Currently, the police is collecting additional information from the four suspects. "Based on their account, they were actually setting up a boar-trap, not intentionally planning to catch a bear," said Marwoto to Tribunkaltim.co.id in his office, Monday (9/6/2014)

Marwoto claimed that after collecting some information related to the Sun Bear slaughter, the police sent several officers to investigate the scene. There, the police found the four suspects who admitted that they had done the illicit acts.

He added that the four suspects were clearing a land to be converted into plantations in Samburakat. Because the location is still a quite dense forest and bushes, they often see wild boars around. "They were trapping boars on the cleared land. When they checked on the trap the morning after, they found a Sun Bear got waylaid. At first they were scared, so they hit the bear to make sure if it is still alive." After knowing that the bear was dead, they decided to decorticate the bear. The skin, including the claws, were boiled and feed to their dogs.

Meanwhile, they cooked and ate the meat. Therefore, the police found it difficult to collect the evidence.

"There was only one young bear. We tried to find the remains of its skin, but the suspects said that they and their dogs have eaten everything," Marwoto explained.

Moreover, until today the police has not received any formal report from the public or other concerned parties. Regarding the report from Protection of Forest and Fauna (PROFAUNA), Marwoto said that they only gave some information, not a formal report. "We are waiting for a formal report, so far nobody has announced any objection. No formal report, only little information."

The police could not decided anything yet on this case. Beside the lack of evidence, the case took place months ago. The photos uploaded on Facebook can only act as means of verification, not evidence.

The investigation is still being held on the four suspects: Ricky C Werang, Herinus Diaz, Loringus Laksi dan Herikus Langi. They were ask for more information and facts, while the police keeps working on collecting more evidence.

However, Marwoto emphasized that in this case the police does not rely entirely on reports from the public. There is a chance that this case would be proceed according to the law in force.

The suspects can be charged by conservation-related laws. "Whether they understand the legal consequences or not, they are still liable to the punishment," he asserted. Marwoto asked the public to be patient and give more time to the police to investigate this case.

Sun Bear Hunting

beruang madu yang dibantaiPreviously, Tribun found a Facebook account named Ricky Werang who uploaded a photo album entitled "Berburu Beruang" ("Bear Hunting") on Thursday (5/6/2014), which ironically is also World's Environment Day. Upon finding the photos, PROFAUNA dug deeper and has come into a conclusion that the photos are not forged. "The photos are in complete sequence, it's hard to say that they were photoshopped," explained Rosek.

PROFAUNA also claimed to have reported this to the police of Berau on Sunday (8/6/2014). "We have reported this case to the police of Berau. PROFAUNA's activist was met by the Chief of Crime Department, to whom we handed all the evidence we have."

Rosek hopes that there will be a legal proceedings for this case. "This could bring terrible implications for the society because when such thing is uploaded on social media sites, there is a big possibility of other people to do the same thing," Rosek pointed out. The felon could be charged with the Law no.5 of 1990 article 21 concerning the Conservation of Living Natural Resources with a maximum punishment of 5 year of prison and IDR 100.000.000 fines.

PROFAUNA also appreciates the police's quick response. "We were astounded by the police's prompt response and efforts. After this, we really want to keep eyes on the legal proceedings until the defendants receive equitable punishment."

Source (translated by Profauna): Tribunkaltim.co.id, 10 June 2014.

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