Durian. Indonesian Environment and Forestry Ministry recently received a return of 91 Indonesian endemic animals from the Philippines, after previously found in the neighboring Asean country.
Director of law enforcement at the ministry Rasio Ridho Sani, Bitung mayor Maximiliaan J. Lomban and North Sulawesi’s head of Natural Resources Conservation Center (BKSDA) Noel Layuk Allo welcomed the repatriation of the 91 animal individuals –consisting of reptiles, mammals, and aves – in Bitung, North Sulawesi on July 30.
Indra Exploitasia, the ministry’s director of biodiversity conservation (KKH) who is also Indonesian Management Authority (MA) CITES initiated the repatriation effort, according to Sani, .
“The repatriation began when KKH director Indra received information from the Philippines’ MA CITES regarding confiscated animals on April 8, 2019 in which they were looking for confirmation about the animals’ origin. Identification result showed that those animals were originated from eastern part of Indonesia, including wallaby, cassowary and Papuan hornbill,” Sani said.
On Oct. 14, 2019, Matic City’s Court ruling ordered the Philippines’s government to return the 134 living animals to Indonesian government. After a meeting between MA CITES from the two countries and in accordance to Article VII of the Convention and Resolution CITES Conf. 17.8, an agreement was made to return the wild animals to Indonesia.
According to Sani, this repatriation was the biggest one successfully executed in terms of number.
The animals would then be observed in Tasikoki animal rescue center in Bitung to then be released into the wild.
Sani said the government remains committed to protect national biodiversity and to solve illegal poaching and trade of plants and animals.
And because illegal animal trade is oftentimes a transnational crime, international cooperation is also maintained, including with the Interpol.
“The government continues to study different operation technique of illegal animal trade, including those done online. We have also been cooperating with various countries to stop transnational crime like this, including with the Interpol,” Sani said.
In the last few years, the ministry has taken actions against more than 300 cases related to illegal poaching and trade of plants and animals, with perpetrators could face up to 5 years in prison.