Five protected animals of four different species have been seized from eastern Bali, for suspected illegal use as part of a tourist attraction from the Bukit Lemped Tree House in Karangasem.
“From the results of a temporary inspection, the owner of the tree house cannot show the letters and origin information about the protected animals,” said administrative head of the Bali Natural Resources Conservation Center (BKSDA), I Ketut Catur Marbawa.
Endangered animals including deer, the Javan langur monkey, a leopard cat, and two porcupine are believed to have been held captive, used as an attraction for tourists at the Karangasem tree house. The animals are said to have been inadequately cared for, the Javanese langur reportedly found with chains around their necks.
Located about two to three hours from Bali’s main tourist area of Kuta, the Bukit Lemped Tree House has been open since mid 2017 and relies mostly on the business of domestic tourists.
The tree house offers a getaway from the traffic and noise of South Bali, a sweeping view of Mount Agung and the ocean, and also allegedly the opportunity to gawk at endangered animals.
The owner of Bukit Lemped is currently under investigation by Bali Police, who fear there is a deeper illegal wildlife trade practice element of the case, suspecting that some of the animals were taken from nearby forests, but others were bought from illegal traders.
Meanwhile, Bali Police Criminal Investigation Deputy Director Supt. Rudi Setiawan confirmed that police are looking into the case.
“We are still studying the role of the perpetrator, how he can have the protected animals and where they came from,” he said, as quoted by Antara Bali.
The investigation into Bukit Lemped comes at a time where widespread, unethical treatment of captive animals in Bali has come under the international spotlight. An undercover investigation by World Animal Protection has just revealed that 100 percent of venues with captive animals on the island aren’t meeting basic animal captivity standards.
One of the most troubling findings of the investigation included the treatment of dolphins, who have had their teeth filed down or removed entirely at one venue, rendering them incapable of harming human swimmers. That’s not even including the small size of the tanks holding the dolphins and that the animals were kept in chlorinated water, which can have harmful effects, including wounds and potential blindness.