Every month about 200 monkeys are smuggled from East Java to Bali. The monkey which are from species called Javan Lutung locally or Trachypithecus Auratus and long tail monkey or Macaca fascicularis is believed to be smuggled for medical consumption.
The meat of these monkey species is traditionally believed by some people to cure asthma.
Most of the monkeys were smuggled from Lumajang, Jember and Banyuwangi in East Java. The monkeys were thought to be captured around or in the conservation area in East Java such as Baluran and Meru Betiri National Park.
ProFauna, which is a non profit organization campaigning for education, wildlife rehabilitation and animal rescue, urge Balinese to stop buying and consume monkeys. In addition, ProFauna also encourage local governments to tighten controls in the Port Gilimanuk, Bali, and the Port Ketapang, East Java where most of the smuggling are taken place.
According to ProFauna’s record, the primates being traded are wild caught instead of captive bred. ProFauna has been observing this smuggling operation since 2008
Most of the traded primates for pets are babies because they are cute and tame. However, when the primates get older and wilder, most owners will neglect or simply put them to death.
The more endangered the primates are, the higher they cost. Protected species like Javan Lutung and slow loris are sold for USD 20 each while the endangered ones like gibbon and orangutan can fetch to more than USD 100 to USD 200 respectively.
“Most of the Indonesian primates are protected by law. It is illegal to trade and keep these animals as pets. Not only the trade is a crime but it also causes cruelties to the animals” added Rosek.
According the 1990 wildlife act concerning natural resources conservation, violator of the act are liable to up to five year prison time or USD 10,000 in fine.
Rosek said that ProFauna Indonesia will continue to campaign against the illegal trade and cruelty of the Indonesian primates. ProFauna keeps encouraging the public to help the organization to protect the primates by stop buying the primates.
Rosek added, “Buying is killing. If people keep buying the traded primates, more of them will be caught from the wild. Stop buying is the simple way that the public can help to protect and conserve the primates in Indonesia.”