Wildlife & Biodiversity

Major seizure of sun bear parts in Indonesia

Thanks to X-ray monitor, 199 claws and 36 canines were recovered from a package at Balikpapan Airport, Borneo

By DTE Staff
Published: Tuesday 01 January 2019

A sun bear. Credit: Wikimedia CommonsIn a major success in the fight against trafficking of animal parts, 199 claws and 36 canines of sun bears have been recovered from a package at an airport in Indonesia.

At 5:15 am local time on December 27, X-ray monitors picked up the animal fangs and nails at the Sultan Aji Muhammad Sulaiman International Airport that serves the city of Balikpapan on the Indonesia half of the island of Borneo or Kalimantan.

A logistics official of the Angkasa Pura I, one of the two state enterprises from the Indonesian government's department of transport that are responsible for the management of airports in the country, was at the spot. Suspicious of the contents, the logistics officer then contacted the Airport Zone Police Station.

A team of officials finally dismantled the contents of the package. Hundreds of nails and dozens of sun bear fangs were found tucked into it with snacks.

The package’s had been sent by a person in the city of Samarinda, the capital of East Kalimantan province, where Balikpapan is also located.

The BKSDA or Nature Conservation Agency, Indonesian Customs, Angkasa Pura as well as local police have decided to pool in resources to find the culprit, Indonesian media reported.

Officials feel that the consignment was about to be sent to Vietnam and Cambodia.

The sun bear (Helarctos malayanus) is an ursid or bear species occurring in tropical forest habitats of Southeast Asia. It is classified as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List as habitat loss and poaching by humans have dramatically reduced its population.

There is a thriving trade in sun bear parts within Indonesia as well as outside its borders. According to one estimate, the price of one Kalimantan sun bear is priced at up to Indonesia Rupiah (Rp) 3 million. While for one bear, nails are valued up to Rp 350,000. It is estimated that this price can be even higher if it is marketed outside Indonesia.

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