Rizal Harahap, Pekanbaru – Personnel of the Riau Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA) have discovered hundreds of traps allegedly set up by poachers around several conservation areas in the province.
As of Wednesday, teams from the agency had managed to dismantle 170 traps since the operation started on Nov. 25.
BKSDA Riau head Suharyono said hunters and local residents alike often set up traps to catch wild animals, especially since many of the locals considered wild animals to be pests.
Suharyono said they confiscated the traps "to reduce wild animal deaths as well as to prevent illegal hunting of protected wildlife."
Eight teams were dispatched to perform a cleanup around the forest and conservation areas. The operation was conducted in four regencies, namely Pelalawan, Indragiri Hulu, Bengkalis and Siak.
"We managed to locate all the traps within two weeks. Team Four caught the most traps, having found 36," Suharyono said, adding that Team Four conducted their operation in South Giam Siak landscape in Sungai Mandau district of Siak.
"Through this operation we also learned that there are many new variations of traps. Most of the traps are made of nylon and wire," he said.According to BKSDA Riau data, 11 wild animals – including four wild elephants, three Sumatran tigers, two bears and two tapirs – have been killed or injured by the traps, which were previously set up at several wildlife reserves, including Giam Siak Kecil, Kerumutan and Zamrud National Park.
"The wild animal deaths in Riau are mostly caused by illegal hunting or conflict with humans. One of the most popular hunting methods is through setting up traps," he said.
"Some of the perpetrators have already been caught, and they said they installed the traps to catch boars," Suharyono added.
However, most of the animals caught by the traps are protected animals. Furthermore, Suharyono said his team had found a dead long-tailed macaque caught in one of the traps. (dpk)