Indonesian court sends poacher, elephant traders to jail
An Indonesian court has handed down prison sentences for five men accused of involvement in the murder of a Sumatran elephant and the illegal trade in its ivory, as local conservation authorities seek to protect endangered species.
IDI, Indonesia – An Indonesian court on Wednesday handed down prison sentences for five men accused of involvement in the murder of a Sumatran elephant and the illegal trade in its ivory, as local conservation authorities seek to protect endangered species.
The Aceh court convicted the men for violating Indonesian laws protecting natural resources and their ecosystems.
Jainal, the poacher who killed the elephant and chopped off its head, as well as Edy Murdani, a man accused of being the first outlet for ivory, were both sentenced to three and a half years of prison with a fine of 50 million rupee ($ 3,487).
The other three perpetrators – Rinaldi Antonius, Soni and Jeffri Zulkarnaen – have been identified as the ivory dealers and face three years in prison and a fine of 100 million rupees ($ 6,973).
The elephant was found dead on July 11 in a palm grove in eastern Aceh, police said. Local police worked with the Aceh Natural Resource Conservation Center to investigate the death.
Autopsy results indicated that the male elephant died after being poisoned.
Police in East Aceh arrested all five suspects in August, starting with elephant poacher Jainal, who bears the pseudonyms Zainon and Dekgam.
Police arrested Jainal on August 10 who admitted to attempting to kill elephants five times since 2017 by poisoning them, but succeeded only twice, including recent death. On July 19, he and a partner poisoned mangoes near a herd of wild elephants and executed a weakened elephant two hours later with an ax, he told police. The partner is still on the run.
The poacher said he sold the ivory to trader Edy Murdani in eastern Aceh, who sold it to four buyers in Aceh and West Java provinces. The last buyer, Rinaldi Antonius, a craftsman from West Java, made ivory into a dagger and a cigarette pipe.
Over the past seven years, 46 dead elephants have been found in Aceh, Indonesia’s westernmost province. Much has been attributed to illegal hunting and conflict with humans.
Data from the Indonesian Ministry of Forests and Environment showed that the Sumatran elephant population fell from 1,300 in 2014 to 693, down almost 50% in the past seven years.
Agus Arianto, head of the Aceh Natural Resource Conservation Center, said the lawsuit showed law enforcement officials’ commitment to end elephant poaching.
âWe have to do prevention so that the same thing does not happen again in the future,â Arianto said.
Sumatran elephants are a subspecies of the Asian elephant, one of the two large mammal species in the world.