International Concern over Alleged Illegal Zoo Trade in Indonesia

International wildlife charity the Born Free Foundation has joined ProFauna Indonesia in calling for a full investigation into allegations of illegal trading of wildlife products by several prominent zoos in the country. The case of the confiscation operation on the protected animal parts in Jagakarsa, Jakarta (7 August 2009) has been developed by the authorities. The Forestry Department held the second case presentation on 10 September 2009. The government agency strongly alleged that the illegal wildlife crime involved three ex-situ conservation institutions. The documents seized from the suspect showed that the three institutions: Indonesia Safari Game Park (Taman Safari Indonesia/ TSI), Pematang Siantar Zoological Park (Taman Hewan Pematang Siantar), and Bandung Zoological Garden (Kebun Binatang Bandung/ KBB), were allegedly involved in the illegal trade of endangered animals. The documents recorded the transactions between the suspect and the institutions trading these following endangered species: Sumatran tiger, orang-utan, Malayan tapir, sun bear, leopard cat, bird of paradise, and cuscus.

The alleged involvement of these zoos is horrifyingly ironic that the ex-situ conservation institutions must have protected and preserved the endangered animals. According to the 1990 Wildlife Act concerning the Conservation of the Natural Resources and Ecosystem, “Every one is prohibited to keep, own, raise, transport, and trade the protected animals including its skin, body or other parts, by-products, as well as to export (inside and outside Indonesia)” Offenders are liable to a maximum five year prison term and 100 millions IDR (10,000 USD).

The most recent case of illegal wildlife trade happening in a zoo was the death of a Sumatran female tiger in Rimbo Zoo, Jambi, Sumatera (22 August 2009). The poor tiger was murdered, skinned and stolen, only its intestines remaining in the cage.

The Coordinator of Forum against the Illegal Wildlife Trade, Irma Hermawati, SH, stated “We applaud the good job of the Forestry Department team that have succeeded in revealing the illegal wildlife case. The Forum has been suspecting the involvement of some zoos’ corrupt officers in trading the protected wildlife. Zoos management must be strictly monitored to curb such wildlife crimes and prevent the country loss from the illegal wildlife trade.”

The international world also criticises the alleged involvement of the zoos in the illegal wildlife trade. Andrina Murrell from Born Free Foundation said, “Born Free Foundation, international conservation and animal welfare organisation which supports ProFauna, is shocked yet unsurprised to hear about zoos trading their wild animals for profit. On one hand these zoos are claiming to preserve and conserve wildlife yet on the other they are exploiting the animals and encouraging a trade which devastates wild populations. This trade needs to be exposed and stopped.”

ProFauna Indonesia, a wildlife protection organization in Indonesia, has been advocating the government to inspect all zoos in Indonesia and check the numbers of the animals kept there. ProFauna Campaign Officer, Radius Nursidi added, “ProFauna strongly recommends the government to put moratorium on Indonesian zoos. The government should not permit any new zoo and should instead focus on assisting and monitoring the present zoos.”

ProFauna Indonesia ( is a wildlife protection organization in Indonesia established since 1994. With the help of it volunteers all over Indonesia, ProFauna works through campaigns, education, trade survey, and wildlife rescue.