Newswise — Forest Rangers from Gunung Leuser National Park and WCS– Indonesia Program’s SMART (Spatial Management and Reporting Tool) Patrol Unit announced the arrest of six bird poachers in Tegapan Village in Gunung Leuser National Park (GLNP), Stabat Area, Sumatera, in Indonesia.
Evidence seized in the arrest consisted of lesser green, greater green, and blue-winged leafbirds, along with bird netting and bird decoy equipment. A total of twenty-five birds was confiscated.
Arrests were made in two different locations in Tegapan Village. One group of poachers was arrested in possession of 9 of the birds, 19 jurung fish (also illegal to take from the protected area), bird hunting decoy equipment, two bird nets, and food supplies for approximately one week. A second group of poachers was arrested in possession of 16 leaf birds, bird hunting decoy equipment, three cell phones, and seven bird nets.
The suspects will be charged under Indonesian law and face a maximum of one year imprisonment and a fine of USD $3,600. The law states that it is illegal to take or capture any vegetation and wildlife from a National Park without permission.
Leafbirds are brightly colored medium-sized birds sought after as pets for their appearance, singing and ability to mimic sounds. Poachers collect the birds to supply the illegal trade.
“To preserve GLNP, we have to protect the forest from destructive practices,” said Andi Basrul, Head of GLNP. “To that end, we will take firm action against wildlife poachers that are harming the park’s ecosystem.”
GLNP is fortifying its protection efforts by establishing more patrol units and increased patrol frequency. In addition, data management through SMART will enhance safeguarding efforts by identifying poaching-prone areas and forest encroachment activities.
Noviar Andayani, Director of WCS’s Indonesia Program (WCS-IP) said: “We appreciate the firm action taken by the forest rangers to save the GLNP ecosystem—a site that is included by the World Heritage Committee on the List of World Heritage Sites in danger. This arrest shows how important patrol activity is to securing national park protection. Safeguarding the forest is critical to conserving Indonesian biodiversity and WCS is glad to assist.”
Located in Sumatera (Aceh and North Sumatera Provinces), GNLP is considered highly valuable for its high biodiversity, and being the last refuge for many threatened species. Besides its status as national park conservation forest, GNLP is a Biosphere Site established by MAB – UNESCO, and is an ASEAN Heritage Park (AHP) established by the ASEAN Conservation for Biodiversity (ACB). In addition, it is a Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatera (TRHS) – a status it holds along with Kerinci Seblat National Park and Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park. WCS’s Wildlife Crimes Unit is supported by the Liz Claiborne and Art Ortenberg Foundation, Fondation Segré, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service Multinational Species Conservation Funds, AZA Tiger Species Survival Plan’s Tiger Conservation Campaign, and the UK Government's IWT Challenge Fund.