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Poachers To Get 100 Lashes Under New Endangered Animal Rules In Indonesia’s Aceh Province

Photo: AFP/Chaideer Mahyuddin

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Poachers To Get 100 Lashes Under New Endangered Animal Rules In Indonesia’s Aceh Province

Poachers who threaten endangered orangutans, tigers and other wildlife could receive up to 100 lashes under new rules in Indonesia’s Aceh province, which usually reserves whipping for morality crimes under Islamic law.

Despite international condemnation, public flogging is a common punishment for a range of offences in the conservative region on Sumatra island, including gambling, drinking alcohol, and having gay or pre-marital sex.

Aceh is the only region in Indonesia, the world’s biggest Muslim-majority country, that imposes religious law.

The punishment – expected to come into effect early next year – could see people convicted of endangering or exploiting wildlife receive up to 100 strokes from a rattan cane, in addition to any prison time under national laws, officials said.

The chief of Aceh’s natural resources conservation agency Sapto Aji Prabow poses with a trap used by poachers to capture animals as the region imposes strict new rules

In July, three people were flogged 100 times each for having premarital sex, while two men caught having sex with underaged girls were also whipped 100 times last year. Other offenses tend to carry dozens or even fewer lashes.

Aceh lawmaker Nurzahri said the harsh new punishment underscored efforts to clamp down on poaching and other threats to local wildlife, including birds endemic to jungle-clad Sumatra.

“Maintaining nature and its balance is part of Islamic law,” the politician, who goes by one name, told AFP on Friday (Oct 4).

“Aceh is the centre of biodiversity in Sumatra and it’s the habitat of some animals like Sumatran orangutans, rhinos, elephants and tigers,” he added.

Rights groups have slammed public caning as cruel, and Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo has called for it to end, but the practice has wide support among Aceh’s population.

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