Illegal Wildlife Trade Incurs 70% Rise in the First Half of 2015

Illegal trade of protected wildlife species in Indonesia has had a quite significant rise on the first semester of 2015, compared to the same period of 2014. During January-June 2014 Protection of Forest & Fauna (PROFAUNA) noted that there were at least 22 cases of protected wildlife species foiled by the authorities, while during January-June 2015 there were 37 cases. This means that there is almost 70% rise in the number of cases.

Some of the illegal trade cases of protected wildlife species in January-June 2015 were:

  •  (23/01/2015) The Natural Resource Conservation Agency of East Java and the Police arrested a wildlife dealer, Sukron (22) a resident of Wadung village, Pakisaji. From the dealer, they also confiscated 1 Javan Langur (dead), 1 Black-capped Lory, 1 Salmon-crested Cockatoos, 2 Yellow-crested Cockatoos, and 2 Oriental Pied Hornbills.
  • (12/02/2015) The police of Madiun seized 1 stuffed Sumatran Tiger, 1 set of Sumatran Tiger skin, 1 Sumatran Tiger skull, 1 stuffed Deer head, and 1 stuffed Hawksbill sea turtle from three suspects, Darmaji (70), Bambang Satriyo Ariyadi (54) dan Suharyadi (47). The illegal goods were worth IDR 25-45 million.
  • (03/03/2015) Officials foiled a smuggling attempt of 36 Yellow-crested Cockatoos, 5 Palm Cockatoos (2 of which were dead), and 1 Lory (dead). The parrots were hidden in the isolation room of KM Gunung Dempo in Tanjung Perak Sea Port, Surabaya.
  • (28/04/2015) The Police of Indonesia raided a warehouse used to colled and pack pangolins in Medan Deli, and found 96 alive pangolins, 5,000 kilograms of frozen pangolin meat, and 77 kilograms of pangolin scales. One suspect, SUM (60), confessed that he could sell the pangolins meat for IDR 120,000/kg, while alive pangolins are worth IDR 13 million each. Because of his illicit business, the country was estimated to suffer a loss up to IDR 23.56 million.
  • (22/06/2015) A joint team from the Police of NTB, the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries, and the marine Affairs and Fisheries Agency of NTB derailed an illegal trade of 10 kilograms of Manta Ray gills, 4 sacks of mixed shark and manta ray bones, 2 sacks of shark bones, and 4 shark fins.
  • (05/06/2015) The Natural Resource Conservation Agency of Bali arrested the owner of Lawar Twel restaurant, I Ketut Sumerta a.k.a I Ketut Perit. The restaurant located at Jalan Ida Bagus Mantra, Gianyar Regency, was proven to sell and store 56 kilograms of Green sea turtle meat.

From this record of 37 cases of illegal trade of protected wildlife species, 10 cases (27%) involved parrots, 4 cases (11%) involved primates, 8 cases (22%) involved big cats, 3 cases (8%) involved pangolins, and 10 cases (27%) involved marine species (sea turtles, sharks, manta ray, etc.). A number of hypothesis could be inferred from the statistics, for instance which group of animals are most wanted in the market, thus requires more attention like parrots and big cats (tiger, leopard cat, etc.).

It is possible that indeed, the number of cases increased overall. It is also apt to assume that the authorities have been performing better in combating wildlife trade.PROFAUNA highly appreciates the good work of the authorities and fellow activists who continue the efforts  to protect Indonesian wildlife.

However, another thing that we should be concerned about is how those cases were proceed . unfortunately, most of them that made it to courts only ended up in low sentences for the defendants. Here are a couple examples:

  • Ahmad Fahrial, an ivory dealer in West Aceh, was sentenced 10 months in prison and IDR 1.5 million fines subsidiary of 8 months in prison, by the District Court of Meulaboh (4/6/2015)
  • Basuki Ongko Raharjo, an international wildlife dealer, was sentenced 6 months in prison with 1 year of probation, by the Dustrict Court of Surabaya (17/6/201)

 "One way to give a deterrent effect to wildlife dealers is by giving them heavy punishment. Therefore, PROFAUNA urges the government to revise the Law no.5 of 1990 concerning the Conservation of Living Natural Resources and Its Ecosystem, particularly article 40 on the sanctions," explained Swasti Prawidya Mukti, PROFAUNA's Campaign Officer.

"PROFAUNA hopes that the punishment would not be on a maximum basis anymore, but minimum instead. This way, there will be more reassurance that the criminals get a fair punishment," she concluded.

For further information, please contact:

Swasti Prawidya Mukti (PROFAUNA's Campaign Officer)

HP: 08563693611 , email:

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