By Farouk Arnaz
Jakarta Police say they have identified the dealer who supplied endangered and protected animals to a wildlife conservation official charged with illegal trafficking.
Adj. Sr. Comr. Sugeng, an investigator with the city police’s special crimes directorate, said on Wednesday that police were now hunting down the supplier but had not yet named him a suspect.
“We’ve already obtained the name of the person who supplied these rare animals [to the official\. We’ll question him as a witness once we find him, and once we have sufficient evidence against him, we’ll name him a suspect too,” he said.
Sugeng played down speculation that the supplier was a senior government official, calling him “just an ordinary person.” He added that the individual’s identity would be revealed soon.
The sole arrestee in the case is an official from the Jakarta Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA), identified only as M.H.T., who was arrested in a sting last Friday while attempting to sell a Javan hawk-eagle and a pair of Sunda slow lorises to an undercover police officer at a mall in South Jakarta.
The hawk-eagle, the national bird of Indonesia, is listed as endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, while the Sunda slow loris, a small primate, is listed as vulnerable. The trade in both species is prohibited.
Police have identified M.H.T. as “not a new player” in the wildlife trafficking scene, saying he had extensive contacts in Jakarta’s various animal markets and was likely part of a major trafficking syndicate .
He faces charges that carry a maximum prison sentence of five years.