Asia

Muslim clerics ban illegal hunting and wildlife trade

An orang-utan mother holds here baby Image copyright AFP
Image caption Orang-utans are amongst the endangered species in Indonesia

Indonesia's highest Islamic clerical body has issued a fatwa against illegal hunting and wildlife trafficking.

The religious edict calls on Muslims in Indonesia to protect threatened animals by conserving their habitat and curbing illegal trade.

A spokesman said people could escape government regulation but they could not escape the word of god.

The fatwa is intended to supplement existing law in Indonesia, which is home to a number of endangered species.

They include orang-utans, tigers and elephants.

The conservation charity, WWF, described the fatwa as the first of its kind in the world - saying the use of religion for wildlife protection was a positive step forward.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption The critically endangered Sumatran rhino was thought to have disappeared from Borneo

Indonesia is home to a number of endangered species, including orang-utans, tigers and elephants.

The ruling - by the Indonesian Council of Ulama - urges the country's Muslims to protect the animals and conserve their habitats, which are threatened by logging, agriculture and urban development.

It said hunting, or trading in endangered species, was forbidden under Islam and was immoral.

The edict is not legally binding, although conservationists say it could carry moral weight for Indonesia's 200 million Muslims.

Trading in protected species can already lead to a jail term and a fine under Indonesian law.

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