Animal rights activists have called on Jakarta
Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama to put an end to the rampant illegal
wildlife trade in the city’s traditional markets.
A senior investigator from wildlife trade monitoring group Scorpion, Marison Guciano, said on Wednesday that protected animals such as eagles and gibbons were traded illegally at Jatinegara Market in East Jakarta.
In addition, traders at the market treated animals cruelly by putting them in very small cages with no food and water, Marison said, adding that among the animals traded at the market were monkeys, squirrels, owls, snakes, cats and dogs.
“We want the administration to close the [animal] market because it is illegal. The market has never held a license,” Marison said.
“Besides, the traders are operating on the roadsides, resulting in traffic congestion. If the [Jakarta administration] evicted the street vendors on the roadsides of Tanah Abang Market [in Central Jakarta], then it has to evict the animals traders at Jatinegara Market too.”
Another animal right activist from Jakarta Animal Aid Network (JAAN), Karin Franken, said separately that the illegal trading of protected animals was also rampant at Pramuka Market in East Jakarta and Barito Market in South Jakarta.
Franken said the traders not only sold protected animals but also animal body parts such as elephant tusk and tiger skin.
“JAAN has been lobbying [the Jakarta administration] for years to have the markets closed down since they are such hellholes for animals. It is horrible how animals are kept and treated there. Even an inexperienced person can clearly see their suffering,” Franken said.
Over the past two years, JAAN and the Jakarta Police have raided Jatinegara Market, but serious measures need to be taken by the Jakarta administration to stop such illegal activities, she said.
Prevailing regulations in the country, she said, were very weak and needed major revisions. “To protect the welfare of all animals, the government should really have strict and clear regulations.”
She added that among weak regulations was Article 302 of the Criminal Code (KUHP) on the torture of animals.
The KUHP stipulates animal abuse carries a maximum punishment of nine months in jail.
The head of Jakarta’s Natural Resources Conversation Agency (BKSDA), Awen Supranata said on Wednesday that the agency, in cooperation with law enforcement institutions, had carried out efforts to stop the trading of protected animals.
The efforts included conducting raids at animal markets, such as Jatinegara Market, and raising awareness on the protected animal sale ban.
“The trading of protected animals is still happening nowadays because the traders are tempted by high sale prices offered by buyers,” Awen told
The Jakarta Post, adding that the agency would work harder to stop the trading by increasing the frequency of raids and disseminating information more intensively. (vny)