International Trader Who Smuggled Baby Primates and Komodo Dragons Arrested in Indonesia
Trader connected to crime syndicates in Russia, Singapore, Thailand, and Cyprus
Operation was completed by Ministry of Forestry and Jakarta National Police Criminal Investigation Division, with technical assistance from WCS’s Wildlife Crimes Unit
NEW YORK (January 23, 2014) — The Wildlife Conservation Society announced today the arrest of a wildlife trader in Indonesia who specialized in smuggling live animals including baby primates and komodo dragons.
The arrest was made in Bali by forest rangers from the Ministry of Forestry who confiscated four endangered Javan gibbons, four baby siamangs, and two palm cockatoos. The siamangs were destined for Russia, according to the investigation.
The alleged trader is connected to illegal wildlife trafficking rings in Russia, Singapore, Thailand, and Cyprus, according to WCS’s Wildlife Crimes Unit (WCU), which participated in the investigation.
“WCS congratulates BKSDA Bali and the Jakarta National Police Investigation Division (CID) for arresting this notorious trader,” said Joe Walston, WCS Executive Director for Asia Programs. “This arrest sends a message that Indonesia is serious about protecting its wildlife heritage from the ravages of the illegal wildlife trade.”
Ir. Sonny Partono, MM, Director General of Forest Protection and Nature Conservation, said: “We will thoroughly investigate this international trade gang and ensure the offenders receive the maximum penalty under Indonesian Law No. 5 year 1990 on Natural Resources Conservation and Ecosystem.”
Last month, the trader allegedly shipped two Komodo dragons to Thailand and has sent hornbill beaks and threatened turtle species to Singapore. Javan gibbon, siamang, komodo dragon, and palm cockatoo are all strictly protected under Indonesian law; and all are listed as Endangered on the IUCN Redlist 2013 except for komodo dragon which is listed as Vulnerable.
WCS’s Wildlife Crimes Unit operates in Indonesia to provide data and technical advice to law enforcement agencies to support the investigation and prosecution of wildlife crimes. The Unit’s most recent success was assisting the Government of Indonesia’s smashing of a tiger poaching ring earlier this month.
WCS’s Wildlife Crimes Unit is supported by the Save Our Species Fund. Save Our Species is a joint initiative of the Global Environment Facility, IUCN and the World Bank. A fundamental goal is to ensure the long-term survival and well being of threatened species and their critical habitats for biodiversity conservation.
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