Criminal network smuggles and imports highly endangered Indonesian orangutan into Riyadh, Saudi Arab

Published: Fri Jul 29 2005

An infant orang-utan smuggled out from Indonesia was found in a pet shop called "Exotique Pets" in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia during a search on 15 June 2005 by National Commission for Wildlife Conservation and Development (NCWCD). The discovery has been forwarded to the International Primate Protection League (IPPL).

Orangutans, a highly endangered species, are still being smuggled out of Indonesia via Jakarta Sukarno-Hatta International Airport due to weak control and law enforcement. A baby orang-utan can fetch USD 50,000 on the international black market. Two Kuwaiti nationals were caught red handed in January 2003, in an effort to smuggle hundreds of highly endangered wildlife through Sukarno Hatta. However these smugglers were released without charge.

ProFauna Indonesia, a wildlife conservation society, which investigates the criminal network of the illegal wildlife trade in Jakarta, found that Middle Eastern wildlife traders frequently visit the Pasar Burung ("bird market") Pramuka in Jakarta, where many wild animals are sold, for shopping expeditions. The Middle East is one of the main smuggling destinations for infant orang utans and other endangered wild species from Indonesia.

The lucrative illegal trade wildlife trade is run by a ring of criminal smugglers who have resorted to torture and possibly even murder to protect their business and punish conservation charity workers who seek to stop the trade.

An Arabic speaking Indonesian illegal wildlife trader, Mr Eko, has been pursued by the local police after a raid of his wildlife warehouse on 25 June 2003. The Police were assisted by ProFauna in their search. Mr Eko’s assistant, who was secretly associated with ProFauna during this investigation, was found dead in Pasar Burung Pramuka after a court case. Three of ProFauna’s volunteers were violently assaulted by the criminals on 29th July 2003 at the same market. The ring leader of the criminals received only a 5 months jail in Feb 2004 after successfully smuggling 40 infant orangutans to the Middle East and to European countries.

The war against the illegal trade of endangered wildlife, particularly orangutans, must be supported by all countries, especially those countries of destination. ProFauna Indonesia appeals to the Government of Saudi Arabia to take action to enforce laws in carrying out confiscation and in breaking the smuggling chains. ProFauna also appeals to the Indonesian government to tighten the inspection of export of wild species from Jakarta Sukarno-Hatta airport to stop this trade.
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Hardi Baktiantoro
Campaign Division Coordinator
ProFauna Indonesia -

ProFauna - UK Representative
Contact: Diana Wright
Contact Name: Diana Wright
Contact Email:
Contact Phone: 00441923-820982

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