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Officers Thwart the Smuggling of Endemic Animals from Kalimantan and Java via Gorontalo

Officers from the Conservation Section II of Gorontalo, the North Sulawesi Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA) and the Sulawesi Security and Law Enforcement Agency, managed to stop the smuggling activity by illegal animal trading networks. Six animals, consisting of four proboscis monkeys or proboscis monkey Nasalis larvatus ) and two Javanese gibbons or silvery gibbon ( Hylobates moloch ) were confiscated.

Syamsuddin Hadju, Head of the Conservation Section for Region II of Gorontalo BKSDA of North Sulawesi, said the failure to smuggle these animals started with information from the public that there were a number of animals brought in by multi-purpose vehicles (MPV) or minibuses in the Gorontalo City area.

They headed for Terminal 1942 (Andalas). Sure enough, there was a minibus at the base carrying the animals.

Syamsuddin said the officers immediately secured these animals. The driver of the car was immediately detained by the Sulawesi Legal Aid Institute.

Driver information, Javanese gibbons and belatans will be brought to Manado, North Sulawesi, by land. He said the car driver brought the animal from Palu City, Central Sulawesi.

He suspected that the animals would be traded to the Philippines through the port of North Sulawesi, as was the case last May. Central Sulawesi, Gorontalo and Manado (North Sulawesi) are routes for smuggling these animals abroad.

Unfortunately, said Syamsuddin, out of the six primates, two proboscis monkeys died on the way. The rest were immediately brought to the Gorontalo Region II Conservation Section Office for security and maintenance. This case, he said, was immediately taken over by the Sulawesi Legal Aid Center for legal proceedings.

“Two proboscis monkeys died on the trip, one was dumped by the driver while still on the way. Meanwhile, we bury one proboscis monkey in the office yard,” said Syamsuddin.

This is not the first time this has happened to smuggling protected wildlife through the Gorontalo route. In May 2022, for example, the Boalemo Police thwarted the smuggling of dozens of protected animals during a vehicle raid in front of their office.

At that time, the police stopped the vehicle that was passing through that road. There was one minibus suspected of his actions. The reason is, when the police were stopping the car, the driver tried to turn around.

The police also found boxes and sacks containing protected animals along with a number of drinks and food for animals. With these findings, the police immediately secured the car to the Headquarters of the Boalemo Police for further investigation.

The animals that were secured included one orangutan cub, two gibbons, one gibbon and three monkeys. There are also 37 turtles of various sizes and types, as well as three monitor lizards.

By looking at the similar modes of wildlife smuggling in the two cases, Syamsuddin suspects that the players are people and the network is the same. He said, there needs to be cooperation between parties to prevent this animal trade.

“There must be maximum efforts to prevent exploitation of protected animals, with joint work between all parties, especially Kalimantan, Makassar, Palu, Gorontalo and Manado,” he said.

On these islands, he said, are animal trade routes. “Domestic and foreign trade doors must also be strictly guarded,” he said.

Feny Reny Rimporok, a veterinarian in Gorontalo hopes that the animals will be released into the wild soon. Wild animals live freely, he said, if they are in a cage or locked up they can get stressed and depressed and then die. For this reason, he said, there needs to be quick action to release the animals back into the wild.

Not only that, said Feny, diseases such as salmonella, impaired brain function to tuberculosis, can threaten these animals.

The golden cat died

In Gorontalo, two smuggled animals died, in West Sumatra, a golden cat (Catopuma temminckii) died shortly after being evacuated, recently.

The golden cat was found by a sick resident in Laiang Village, Tanjung Harapan District, Solok City, West Sumatra. He wandered around the Fish Seed Hall for several days. After being evacuated, it didn’t take long for him to die.

Baswandi, Head of Evacuation for the Solok Damkar, said that when he was arrested, the golden cat’s physical condition looked thin and weak, presumably due to illness.

Jumanda Putra, Forest Ecosystem Controller from the Barisan Solok BKSDA Resort, said that physical monitoring of this golden cat was malnourished.

Despite receiving care and treatment from the West Sumatra BKSDA veterinary team, this golden cat eventually died.

Ardi Andono, Head of the W Sumatra BKSDA, said the golden cat was suspected to be the cause of the cat’s death due to illness. “It’s suspected that he was sick. There are bite marks on the legs of opponents, lack of nutrition and dehydration,” said Ardi.

Erwin Willianto, founder of Save Indonesian Nature & Threatened Species (Sintas) Indonesia and a member of the Fishing Cat Working Group, said that the ecological cause of the golden cat came out of the forest.

First , there may be less prey in the forest, while the golden cat population is large until it expands. Second , the golden cat population is small and its prey is also limited, but its distribution is very wide and can reach the edge of the forest. Third , there are many prey animals, but the golden cat population is small.

“That must be seen as a whole, we cannot assume it ourselves, because they have territory. I don’t know for sure, it could be that his home range reaches the edge of the forest because he rarely meets humans, he even tends to avoid it so we always think he’s in the forest,” he said.

It could also be, he said, that the area around the border is even richer in prey animals, thus allowing the golden cat to use this area but not all of it.

“He could have moved across, because West Sumatra has ups and downs or steep contours. That’s what made the golden cat seek a certain path and finally forced its way through the forest boundary.”

In Agam, the community’s habit of setting snares must be the main focus. Several times, he said, tigers were caught in snares even though they were targeted by pigs.

Erwin suggested that the BKSDA should actively educate the public, given the high wildlife conflicts in West Sumatra. “Especially education about snares, there must be an alternative to drive away swine pests without endangering other animals.”

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