(Reuters) – Indonesian police have arrested a couple who made meatballs from the flesh of protected monkeys, an animal conservation group said on Wednesday. The pair poached dozens of rare Javan langurs, also known as silver-leaf monkeys, from Baluran National Park in the east of Java island, according to a statement released by Indonesia-based animal protection group ProFauna.
“Police found 30 kilograms (65 pounds) meat estimated to come from 20 – 25 individuals, two rifles and a live langur,” the statement said.
“The couple admitted that they had known what they did was against the law and they hunted the monkeys for their meat because beef and chicken were more expensive than the protected monkeys.”
Meatball soup, known locally as bakso, is a popular dish in Indonesia.
The statement said police were now broadening their investigation to include checks on vendors suspected of selling the monkey meatballs, while ProFauna was in talks with the national park caretakers to prevent further poaching.
Indonesian law states that perpetrators of wildlife crimes face a maximum five year prison term and a fine of 5 million rupiah ($555), but the law is not always strictly enforced.
(Editing by David Fox)