REPUBLIKA.CO.ID, JAKARTA -- Minister of Environment and Forestry (LHK), Siti Nurbaya, accompanied by Director General of Natural Resources Conservation and Ecosystem (KSDAE), Wiratno, visited Lampung Selatan on Monday (3/5). This working visit was aimed to monitor law enforcement, as well as appreciate those who have counteract orangutan smuggling.
Previously on April 26, Natural Resources Conservation Center (BKSDA) Bengkulu from Area Conservation Section (SKW) III Lampung, along with Bakauheni Port Police (KSKP), Bakauheni Agricultural Quarantine Body, and an NGO, Jakarta Animal Aid Network (JAAN), operated K9 activity in Bakauheni Port.
This join operation has successfully rescued two Sumatera orangutans (Pongi abelii). The two orangutan are male and female with age only 1 year and 1 year 4 months. Both are still under treatment in transit location of Sumatran Wildlife Center Jakarta Animal Aid Network (SWC JAAN) Lampung. The female orangutan was then named Siti, and Sudin for the male, by Minister Siti.
Wildlife traffickers tried to smuggle the two using ALS bus with police number BK 7885 DK from Medan Sumatera Utara to Tangerang. All members of the bus were detained for further examination. The driver and his assistant were then named suspects by the investigator of KSKP. The case is legally processed, and thus investigator can confiscate and search the crime scene, as well as develop the case.
Then on 30 April 2021 around 21.00, investigator of Lampung Selatan Police secured a suspect who trade orangutan in Medan, North Sumatera. The suspect is presumably a professional but has not been caught and processed legally. Investigator is intensively examined the case to expose the network from upstream to downstream.
Related to the case, investigator proceeds the case under Article 21 Verse 2 Laws No 5/1990 about Natural Resources Conservation and Ecosystem, which says, “Anyone is prohibited to take, cut, kill, keep, own, nurture, transport, and trade protected animals in life condition,” and Article 40 Verse 2, “Anyone who intentionally violate Article 21 verse 2 could be sentenced up to 5 (five) years and fined up to IDR 100.000.000, - (a hundred million rupiah)".
Located in South Lampung Police Office, Minister Siti presented a token of appreciation directly to South Lampung Police, Class I Agricultural Quarantine Body Bandar Lampung, and Jakarta Animal Aid Network (JAAN). Minister Siti emphasized that the ministry will fully support the law enforcement conducted by South Lampung Police.
Minister Siti asked Director General of Natural Resources Conservation and Ecosystem (KSDAE), Wiratno, to trace the origin of the two orangutan so that they can be rehabilitated in the area. Sumatera has two orangutan rehabilitation centers, which are in North Sumatera and Jambi.
“Orangutan is one of the biggest mammals in the world other than elephants, rhinos, tigers, komodo, and anoa, that live in Indonesia. We call them Flagship Species. There are 25 priority species that we watch closely, including how to increase the population,” Minister Siti said.
She explained how animals like orangutan is important as an indicator of successful development in Indonesia. “Preservation of animals in its habitat is our benchmark of successful development,” Minister Siti said.
Wiratno added that orangutan is actually an animal that can rehabilitate forest. It is because it can roam up to 5 km square. During the travel, orangutan eat fruits and drop the seeds. Thus, it grows new trees. “Orangutan is our pride. This illegal animal trade is very concerning. We will strengthen our cooperation with police and other parties to tackle this crime,” Wiratno said.
According to the data from Directorate General of Natural Resources Conservation and Ecosystem, during the period of March-April 2021, there were at least 4 (four) cases of illegal orangutan trade and ownership. During the two months, government has rescued 6 orangutan aged 1-4 years.
The appreciation marks the ministry’s awareness towards parties who work to protect Indonesian environment. Minister Siti hopes the award can increase motivation of law enforcement and environmental activists in Indonesia, especially in Lampung. She also hopes they are more aware of illegal trade of protected plants and animals.
The Head of South Lampung Police, Zaki Alkazar Nasution, expressed his gratitude towards government’s attention. He committed to develop the investigation to uncover the network of illegal animal trade, including international networks.