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Indonesian Government is Being Urged to Stop Illegal Trade in Endangered Species

ProFauna launched its national campaign against the trade in wildlife in front of the presidential palace, Jakarta and urges the Indonesian government to take urgent steps to deal with the rampant illegal trade in endangered wildlife. Hundreds of thousands of wild animals, including endangered species which are protected by law, are poached and traded each year for domestic and overseas "exotic pet" markets.

95% of traded Indonesian species are caught in the wild, threatening the bio-diversity and sending many species to extinction. Some are even bought by government officials, police and military personnel.

Indonesia is one of the richest bio diverse regions in the world and yet has the longest list of endangered wild species. Wild species are becoming endangered due to deforestation and poaching. The government does not yet have a national plan to seriously address this problem. Although Indonesia has law protecting wild species, the enforcement is weak.

Indonesian President, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, is urged to deem that the illegal trade in wildlife is a serious national issue and to combat the problem. The government is further urged to issue instructions forbidding civil servants, police and army personnel from keeping protected animals at home and to set up a special task force team, to deal with this critical issue.

It is estimated that the trade is worth Indonesian Rupiah 9 Trillion (US$ 900 Million) each year, due to the high prices paid for the more endangered species. In the domestic black market, a Sumatran tiger Rp 20 Million (US$2000) and a Javan Owa (gibbon) Rp 3 Million (US$300). An orangutan can fetch Rupiah 5 Million (US$ 500) but would cost US$45,000 in international black market.

There is a lack conservation awareness and understanding on animal welfare amongst the people. Coupled with the weak law enforcement and control, many wild animals have become victims of this crime and cruel illegal commercial exploitation.

Illegal wildlife trade is a legal as well as an environmental crime. People who are involved in this trade are guilty of violating existing laws. Usually those prosecuted for wildlife crime had other criminal convictions. Dealers in tiger skins and bones, bear paws and gall bladders, rhino horns, endangered parrots and other species, normally have established criminal networks and smuggling route.

All donations will be used to strengthen the Indonesian wildlife conservation program.