Indonesian man arrested as 650 pangolins found dead in freezers

Indonesia made a splash in 2014 when it issued a wildlife protection fatwa. A fatwa is, by its very nature, a non-binding opinion. A wildlife protection fatwa means nothing if it is not gazetted into legislation and then enforced. And it needs to be proactively enforced in order to be truly preventative – otherwise, it can be shrugged off as a business fine or risk.

A BBC article sheds some light on how Indonesia’s enforcement of its wildlife protection laws:

Indonesian authorities have seized more than 650 dead pangolins hidden in freezers and arrested a man.

The critically endangered species is a delicacy in parts of Asia and is used in traditional medicine.

Police found the animals when they raided a house in Jombang district on the main island of Java, after neighbours became suspicious about the number of freezers at the property.

The 55-year-old house owner has been arrested as a suspect.

He could face five years in prison and a fine of 100m rupiah ($7,500) for breaking wildlife protection laws.

[…]

The International Union for Conservation of Nature classifies the pangolin species found in Indonesia as critically endangered.

[Source: Indonesian man arrested as 650 pangolins found dead in freezers]

I really hope there’s more Indonesia’s wildlife protection, because here it is completely incidental. It obviously hasn’t done anything to protect these 650 pangolins.