Illegal Wildlife Trade Worths Billion Rupiah, PROFAUNA Demands Better Law Enforcement

The rampant practice of illegal wildlife trade and weak law enforcement urges Protection of Forest & Fauna (PROFAUNA) Indonesia to continue the campaign against wildlife trade. During an extreme demonstration staged in Malang (4/6/2016), a number of activists dangle down from a crossing bridge in front of Malang City Square, engaging the general public to be more aware of this issue.

Campaign against wildlifetrade has been PROFAUNA's agenda since 1994, and it lies on a very firm ground: wildlife trade's high value. According the UN and Interpol, the value of worldwide wildlife trade is estimated to be around USD 15-20 billion. Globally, wildlife trade has fallen into the same category with illegal trade of narcotics, illegal arms trafficking, and human trafficking.

In 2015 only, Indonesia lost IDR 9 trillion due to weak law enforcement concerning wildlife trade. Customs of Soekarno Hatta International Airport during March-May 2016 has foiled six smuggling attempts of wildlife products to and from other countries, worth around IDR 21 billion in sum.

Throughout 2015 until near mid-2016, law enforcement regarding wildlife crime in Indonesia has not been satisfying at all. PROFAUNA notes that there were only nine sentences given to wildlife trader in Indonesia during the aforementioned time span.

"PROFAUNA also recorded over 120 cases of wildlife trade responded by authorities since January 2015 until now, but less than 10 percent of them have reached the sentence," said Dwi Derma, PROFAUNA Indonesia's campaign officer.

Derma further elaborated that the given sentences are also disappointing. Among the nine given sentences, the highest prison term was 2,5 years and IDR 80 million fines. This sentence was given by Pekanbaru District Court to two members of orangutan dealer syndicate on 22 March 2016.

"This might have been the heaviest penalty ever given to a wildlife dealer, which actually is only half of the maximum penalty, 5 year of prison, as stated in Law no.5 of 1990 concerning the Conservation of Living Natural Resources and Its Ecosystem," added Derma, who is also a member of PROFAUNA's Ranger unit. "Even the fines have never been sentenced in maximum amount, which is IDR 100 million. Meanwhile, those dealers could gain million rupiahs from a single transaction."

To celebrate the World Environment Day (WED) 2016, PROFAUNA urges the government to strengthen the law enforcement to protect Indonesian wildlife by advancing the amendment of Law no.5 of 1990 including having heavier penalty for the offenders. In addition, PROFAUNA deems it necessary to improve the capacity of law enforcement officials, especially prosecutors and judges, so that they would understand well that this issue is a global concern and offenders must be given maximum penalties.

"This year's WED theme is Go Wild For Life: Zero Tolerance for the Illegal Wildlife Trade. This should be a momentum for us to stop tolerating all forms of wildlife trade. All the efforts of officials and activists in the field would be good for nothing if in the end offenders are given low penalties," concluded Derma.

© 2003 - ProFauna Indonesia

ProFauna Indonesia is an Indonesian society for the protection of
wild animals and their habitats