TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Indonesia has seen an increase in illegal wildlife trade. Wildlife Conservation Society - Indonesia Program (WCS-IP) noted that volume of illegal wildlife trade has quadrupled since 2010 with a value of Rp13 trillion per year.
It was the minimum assumed value of illegal wildlife trade revealed by the group. “If illegal trade continues in the future in the same volume or even bigger than what has already been found, Indonesia’s biological diversity will be under threat,” Program Manager of Wildlife Trade, Wildlife Conservation Society - Indonesia Program, Dwi Nugroho Adhiasto told a press conference on World Wildlife Day 2017 in Jakarta.
Data from Wildlife Crime Unit (WCU), an anti-illegal wildlife trade unit formed by the Wildlife Conservation Society-Indonesia Program (WCS-IP), show that 91 sting operations were conducted in 2016. The WCU were involved in 52 of the sting ops.
Some 89 individuals were arrested in the 52 sting operations. Legal proceedings have been undertaken in 90 percent of the cases. Meanwhile, 28 cases have been investigated into or taken to court. Sentences have been handed down in 19 cases. Administrative sanctions were given in 4 cases. A case has been dropped due to the lack of evidence.
The offenders were mostly sentenced to 9 months in jail and Rp10 million fine. The harshest sentence to be given was 2 years imprisonment and Rp5-10 million fines.
“The sentences failed to fulfill the community’s sense of justice, a far cry from the maximum penalty of 5 years in jail and Rp100 million fine under Law No. 5/1990 on Natural and Ecosystem Conservation,” he said.
Dwi explained that revised Law No. 5/1990 currently deliberated by ought to firmly regulate law enforcement.
“Give the harshest punishment to provide some deterrent effect,” Dwi Nugroho said.
He has also called for the prosecution of individuals who pet the wildlife. “They are criminals, too. [Law enforcement agencies] should not only target poachers but also rich people who pet them,” he said.