Tempo Interactif reports the Bali's Conservation Department (BKSDA) has seized 2 trucks of antiques and bone of endangered animals from 6 art shops in the Kuta area of Bali. The confiscated goods with a value estimated at Rp, 60 billion (US$6.45 million) is currently being stored for safe keeping at the Bali Conservation Office.
"Although (the confiscated goods) are only bones, this is still a violation of the law," said the Coordinator for Enforcement and Conservation, Budi Utomo. The relevant laws for conservation of natural resources provides for 5 years of prison and a maximum fine of Rp. 100 million (US$10,750).
Among the bird skeletons confiscated were the skulls of four Buceros bicornis or Great Hornbills valued at Rp. 1.2 billion (US$129,000). Also seized were 25 teeth from Dugongs or Dugong dugon costing Rp. 1.5 billion (US$161,300), together with whale bones and swordfish bones. Some of the bone items had been carved and decorated into handicraft items.
The Coordinator of Forestry Police for the BKSDA in Bali, Sri Yudhanto told Tempo Interaktif that the confiscation came as the result of a tip provided by a German tourist who asked why whale bones were being sold openly in Bali shops. Following a brief investigation the contraband were seized in raids over three days conducted between November 6-9, 2007.
The owner of the antique shop initially resisted the confiscation, claiming he had no knowledge of the rules outlawing the private ownership of such items. Yudhanto said his department would initially concentrate on educating the perpetrator, reserving harsher legal steps if the violations continued.
Official believe the bones originated from Papua and East Nusa Tenggara.
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