In Indonesia, orangutan killings often go unpunished
The country’s laws prohibit killing or trafficking orangutans, but officials usually treat these offenses “as a non-issue,” experts say.
A villager found the headless, bloated body of an orangutan floating in a river in Indonesia’s Central Kalimantan province in early 2018.
The Bornean orangutan had been shot 17 times with a pellet gun, had multiple broken ribs, and had been decapitated with a machete. Two rubber farmers, who claimed they acted in self-defense, were arrested and convicted for the illegal killing. They were sentenced to six months in prison and fined 500,000 rupiahs, or about $35.
Those penalties didn’t come close to the maximum allowed. That’s because orangutan-related crimes are “seen as a non-issue compared to other environment [and] forest crimes that the government deals with,” says Taylor Tench, policy analyst for the U.S.-based Environmental Investigation Agency