Banda Aceh, Aceh (ANTARA) - The Aceh police arrested two ivory traders at Kota Mini market in Mutiara Timur, Pidie District after local cops received a tip-off from residents about their illegal elephant ivory trading activities.

The suspects, only identified as MD, 50, and BSR, 30, were apprehended on Thursday evening, April 25, 2024, Aceh Special Criminal Investigation Director Senior Commissioner Winardy stated here, Friday.

The cops seized two Sumatran elephant tusks that the suspects carried and a vehicle they used for transporting their evidence of crime, he revealed, adding that MD and BSR are the residents of Pidie District.

The cops could arrest them owing to the residents' tip-off, Winardy remarked while thanking the people for their active participation in the fight against illegal ivory trading in Aceh Province.

"The suspects have been under police custody for further investigation to uncover their illegal ivory trading networks," he remarked.

The two suspects have been charged with violating Articles 21 (2) and 40 (2) of Indonesia's Law Number 5 of 1990 on Natural Resources and Ecosystem Conservation.

If the Pidie district court finds them guilty, they would be sentenced to five years in prison and would have to pay a fine of Rp100 million (1 US$= about Rp16,241), he added.

The Aceh police will continue its fight against ivory traders as part of its commitment to the protection of the province's native wildlife and natural ecosystem.

Cases of human-wildlife conflicts (HWCs) continue to be frequently found in Indonesia, as they resulted in human and material losses and deaths of several endangered animals in affected regions.

The HWC-related occurrences that are closely related to the damaged condition of the wildlife's natural habitat frequently occur in regions, such as the provinces of Aceh, North Sumatra, and Riau.

In Aceh, the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi) recorded 113 HWC-related occurrences between 2019 and 2023, including 33 involving Sumatran elephants.

The conflicts had resulted in the deaths of 22 Sumatran elephants, according to Walhi-Aceh Chapter Head Ahmad Shalihin's statement, published on the conservation group's website.

Moreover, ivory traders continue to pose a threat to Sumatran elephants.

On August 27, 2021, police officers in Aceh Jaya District, Aceh Province, arrested 11 people for their involvement in the killings of five Sumatran elephants in 2020 and trading their ivory tusks.
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Translator: M.Haris SA, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Atman Ahdiat
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