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Wildlife groups urge end to primate trade

Rare species being sold to be eaten by sailors looking to increase their libido

Profauna campaigns against the killing and selling of primates Profauna campaigns against the killing and selling of primates
  • Ryan Dagur, Jakarta
  • Indonesia
  • July 9, 2012
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Wildlife groups have called for the government to stop turning a blind eye and end what they say is the illegal trading of primates in Palembang, South Sumatra province.

Many animals, including several rare species are being caught so that their body parts can be used as ingredients for Chinese medicine or increase virility.

According to a recent report published by ProFauna and the International Primate Protection League many are being sold at Palembang markets and in cities like Jakarta and Yogyakarta, the groups say.

They end up being killed and consumed by visiting sailors from China, Korea, Taiwan and Vietnam.

“Sailors usually eat only the primates’ brain, which is believed to increasing their virility,” the ProFauna report said.

They can buy primates from local vendors at different prices according to type, age, protection status and availability.

For instance, a Javanese leaf-monkey is sold for about 150,000 rupiah (US$16), while long-tailed or crab-eating primates can be bought at 350,000 rupiah each, the report said.

ProFauna chairman Rosek Nursahid told ucanews.com today that the government is at fault for allowing the hunting and illegal trading of primates to happen.

“We see a total lack of activity from the government. Thus, primates living in the forests are being continually hunted.”

He said the government is failing to implement regulations contained in the Ecosystem and Natural Resources Conservation Act.

The law stipulates that no one is allowed to catch, harm, kill, keep, transport or sell protected animals and that violators can expect a jail term of up to five years and or a fine of up to 100 million rupiah.

“Law enforcers have to act and immediately deal with these cases,” Nursahid said.

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