Aceh, the only province in Indonesia with special autonomy to enact sharia law, is often criticized by human rights activists for publicly caning those found guilty of morality-based "crimes" such as adultery and homosexual relations.
It will be interesting to see how animal rights activists respond to news that Aceh is currently preparing a qanun (sharia legal statute) that would see those who threaten the lives of endangered species and their habitats punished with up to 100 strokes of the cane.
The draft qanun on wildlife protection, which is currently being discussed by the Aceh House of Representatives (DPRA) and is set to be ratified this month, covers a wide variety of animal and environmental crimes including disturbing or destroying wildlife habitats; using and installing snares that can threaten protected wildlife; placing poison that could endanger protected wildlife and conducting activities that could cause ecological damage to wildlife habitats.
The qanun calls for violators to be sentenced with up to 100 strokes of the cane and a fine of up to 1000 grams of pure gold.
As Aceh's sharia legal system does not supersede Indonesia's national laws, those who endanger wildlife could potentially also be charged and additionally punished under the country's animal protection laws.
DPRA Commission II held a public forum to discuss the draft qanun on Aug 30, and there were reportedly no objections to the proposed law voiced by any of the participants. The head of the commission, Nurzahri, said he was surprised by that.
"I initially suspected that there would be many that would protest the use of caning as a punishment," Nurzahri told Aceh news outlet SerambiNews.
However, the forum did include discussion and questions on how the law would be implemented. One point that was brought up was that the qanun did not specify whether the wildlife crimes included would be adjudicated in civil or sharia courts.
Nurzahri still said his commission had to discuss how the law would be implemented but seemed optimistic that it would be ratified during the current plenary session.
Aceh is home to many of Indonesia's protected and endangered species. It includes vast swathes of the fabled Leuser Ecosystem, an area of forest located in both Aceh and North Sumatra known for its incredible biodiversity and being the only place on Earth where elephants, rhinos, tigers and orangutans can only be found in one area. Leonardo DiCaprio is a big fan.