Snakes that were confiscated by Agriculture Quarantine Agency officers at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Tangerang, Banten. (Antara Photo/Lucky R.)
Schoolbags and Toys Popular Methods for Smuggling Animals Overseas
BY :ANDRI DONNAL PUTERA
OCTOBER 17, 2016
Jakarta. As the authorities step up efforts to detect and prosecute wildlife crimes, smugglers turn to ever more creative methods to disguise their shady dealings. This includes smuggling animals through postal services and hiding them inside suitcases, schoolbags, toys and even speakers.
"Based on the data from July to October this year, we found 58 snakes, two tortoises and a lizard, mailed to China, Australia, the Philippines and Malaysia," Banun Harpini, head of the Agriculture Quarantine Agency at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Tangerang, Banten, told Kompas.com on Monday (17/10).
"Among those was a venomous snake, which could easily have disrupted a flight because [the smugglers] just used a schoolbag," he said.
This has become a popular method for smugglers because of the tighter regulations imposed at the airport.
After identifying the confiscated animal, Banun said the agency must determine if it belongs to a species that is protected under the law, or listed as endangered by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES).
The Agriculture Quarantine Agency has also confiscated 1.7 kilograms of vegetable seeds originating from Incheon, South Korea, 3.7 kilograms of rice seeds from China, and 25 date seedlings from Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Banun said his office will continue to tighten monitoring activities, as well as coordinate with institutions involved in the prevention of the illegal wildlife trade.
A snake was discovered on a Garuda Indonesia flight from Jayapura, West Papua to Jakarta's Soekarno-Hatta airport on Oct. 11, according to Wartakota.com.
The airline's senior public relations manager confirmed the incident, but said it was quickly handled by the cabin crew."