Police foils attempt to trade 20 endangered eagles in Lampung

Bandar Lampung, Lampung (ANTARA News) - The Lampung police foiled an attempt to trade 20 black-winged kites, a rare species of eagles, in Bandarlampung.

The birds (Elanus caeruleus) were confiscated from Muhammad Rohim (27), a resident of Enggal Village of Central Tanjungkarang Subdistrict of Bandar Lampung, who allegedly used to trade the birds of prey through social media, Director of Special Crime of Lampung Police, Senior Commissioner Dicky Patrianegara, said here on Tuesday.

"The suspect offered these rare animals through a facebook account for Rp200,000 each," Patrianegara disclosed.

Rohim had caught the eagles by himself using a net trap. In the black market, an eaglet may be valued between one million and two million rupiah (one US dollar equals roughly Rp13,000), the officer added.

The Natural Resource Conservation Agency (BKSDA) of Bengkulu was the first to notice the eagle trade on the facebook and reported it to the local authority.

Head of Area III Conservation Section of BKSDA of Bengkulu Teguh Ismail said all the species of eagles in Indonesia are protected by the law and cannot be traded.

"This deed violated the law and was harmful to the efforts to preserve nature. We worked together with the Lampung Police to lure the suspect and then arrested him," Ismail informed.

Black-winged kite, locally known as eagle of mice, as it mainly eats small rodents such as mice, is also considered an endangered species.

It is best known for its habit of hovering over open grasslands in the manner of the much smaller kestrels.

This kite is distinctive, with long-wings, white, grey and black plumage and owl like forward-facing eyes with red irises.

Although mainly seen on the plains, they are sometimes seen on grassy slopes of hills in the higher elevation regions of Asia.

The confiscated black-winged kites would be taken care of by the BKSDA "since most of them are still eaglets and it would be impossible to release them to the nature," Ismail stated.(*)