Six Indonesians pleaded guilty yesterday to charges for trespassing into the Lanjak-Entimau Wildlife Sanctuary, a hotspot for wildlife crime including the illegal extraction of internationally protected agarwood.

The Indonesian court sentenced a fine of RM 3,000 per person ($771 USD) and a 4-month jail term. Based on the charges, all the accused trespassed into the Lanjak-Entimau Wildlife Sanctuary without permission from the warden, all offenses under Section 24(1), Wildlife Protection Ordinance 1998. 

The convicted wildlife criminals were apprehended while camping in the protected area and in possession of tools believed to be used for extraction of high-value internationally protected agarwood. A gun was also confiscated during the arrest.

Agarwood is prized for its aromatic qualities and is used for incense, medicinal purposes, perfume, cultural purposes and more—making it an attractive target for poachers. Based on the enforcement team’s previous experiences, it was noted that the area where the suspects were arrested may be a hotspot for nefarious activity. 

Said Melvin Gumal, WCS Country Program Director for Malaysia: “Multiple agencies have ensured the system is working to enforce laws to protect Sarawak’s natural heritage. Galvanizing agencies like the police, army and the courts with speed and adeptness is commendable. WCS believes that conservation success happens as the result of collective action and is the product of a skilled and efficient multi-agency approach.”

According to the Director of Sarawak Forest Department, Hamden Mohammad, whose team is successfully prosecuted the case: “We will not compromise on illegal encroachment into our Totally Protected Areas, such as Lanjak-Entimau.  It is the last bastion for our wildlife.  The Sarawak Government will intensify our efforts to ensure protection of our unique Totally Protected Areas and let this arrest and successful prosecution be a warning to those intending to encroach and poach.”

This protected area enforcement effort is supported by the Arcus Foundation, Fondation Segré, the Whitley Fund for Nature, and the Enlyst Fund.