Seven tails of wildlife, including an orangutan, were discovered in the house of inactive Langkat regency head, Terbit Rencana Perangin-angin. This wildlife crime case came to light after the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) entered the house to investigate a bribery case involving the inactive regency head. The KPK passed this information to the Ministry of Environment and Forestry (MoEF) who then rescued all the animals from the house.
"This rescue activity in the form of evacuation is based on KPK information to the KLHK about the discovery of protected wild animals in the private house of the inactive Langkat Regency head, Terbit Rencana Perangin-angin," said North Sumatra BBKSDA acting head, Irzal Azhar, in a written statement as quoted by Kompas.
The seven protected animals are: Sumatran orangutan (Pongo abelii), Celebes ape (Cynopithecus niger), Changeable hawk-eagle (Spizaetus cirrhatus), Bali starlings (Leucopsar rothschildi) and Nias hill mynas (Gracula religiosa). All the animals were confiscated from Terbit's private house in Raja Tengah Village, Kuala subdistrict, Langkat Regency, North Sumatra on Tuesday, the 25th of January 2022.
Irzal said that the inactive regency head could face up to five years in prison for keeping protected wildlife in his home. He will be subject to Article 21 paragraph 2a of Law Number 5 of 1990 which reads, everyone is prohibited from capturing, injuring, killing, storing, possessing, maintaining, transporting, and trading protected animals alive.
The Executive Director of the Scorpion Foundation, Ali Bangun Gea, condemns the illegal keeping of orangutan by a state official. "Involvement of a state official in illegal keeping of orangutan is very regrettable. This is an example that shows the lack of awareness of the regulations for protecting rare animals," he said.
The existence of closed places in the homes of state officials coupled with tight security makes it an obstacle in disclosing cases of illegal ownership of protected animals. "Without the presence of the KPK officers at the house of the inactive regency head of Langkat the case may not have been revealed," Ali said.
Meanwhile, Scorpion Foundation veterinary doctor, Icha Novita, hopes that if there are still state officials who keep protected animals, especially the orangutan, they should voluntarily hand them over to the nearest BKSDA office. "Illegal ownership of orangutan is very
disruptive to the orangutan conservation programme because this animal is commonly kept without veterinarians or trained animal keepers," she said.
The inactive Regency Head of Langkat, Terbit Rencana Perangin-angin, was arrested by the KPK on the 18th of January as a suspect of bribery. On the 25th of January, the KPK and the BBKSDA-SU entered the house again and rescued the 7 animals from the house.
Evacuation of the orangutan from the house of inactive Regency Head of Langkat.