Fickle fate of the pangolin

By Erwan Hermawan, on July 24, 2019

The hunting of the Sunda pangolin and its smuggling abroad is on the rise. The police consider it to be transnational crime. Belief in this animal’s healing power—from increasing libido and to being used in the preparation of psychotropic medication—and the legalisation of its use in some countries has increased demand.

The price of this rare nocturnal creature remains high because it is illegal to hunt. As a kilogram of Sunda pangolin (Manis javanica) sells for US$4,200, the value of its smuggling reaches Rp3.6 trillion annually. The illegal trade of this animal ranks second only to wild birds. Those involved in this trade continue to operate freely.


In a dimly-lit central room of a house in Jalan Kopi in the heart of the City of Sampit, East Kotawaringin, Central Kalimantan, Rudy Susanto calmly answered a series of questions about the Sunda pangolin.

Three police officers were questioning him, half an hour after breaking the Ramadan fast in May. He was a suspect in the possession of 13.2 kilograms of scales from that protected nocturnal animal which has the Latin name Manis javanica.

Rudy, who was born in Sambas, West Kalimantan, 57 years ago, answered all of the questions posed by officers from the East Kotawaringin Crime Unit. He explained where the pangolin scales in his home had come from.

Read the full story on Tempo.

Erwan Hermawan

Erwan Hermawan, 30, has been working as an investigative journalist at Tempo since 2013. He covers issues relating to…