authorities are hot on the cyber trail of wildlife trade criminals. They
recently traced online advertisements to a suspect selling the parts and
products of protected wildlife species. The World Wide Web turned up many other
leads, and law enforcement officials expect more arrests to come.
about 30 million Indonesians online, Internet usage is growing in the country.
And so is its misusage.
you are trying to sell wildlife online, beware. We will catch you, and you will
be prosecuted. We are currently investigating a number of cases, and this
week’s arrest represents just the first,” said Pak Darori, Director-General of
Forest Protection and Nature Conservation at the Ministry of Forestry (PHKA).
"The increase in Internet advertisements is worrying, but this arrest
shows that cyber space is no hiding place.”
of an art shop in Jakarta, the suspect acquired and sold hundreds of illegal
items. Many of the wares came from some of Indonesia’s most iconic animals,
such as tigers, elephants, and sun bears. The confiscated goods included elephant
ivory pipes and chopsticks, tiger claws, whiskers, and fangs, and wallets made
from clouded leopard skin. The black market business used the Internet to reach
customers in Indonesia and around the world.
Wildlife Crime Unit aids the investigation, which is led by the Indonesia’s
Police Force, Forestry Department, and PHKA.
recent raid shows the importance of working closely with law enforcement as a
key component in the fight against illegal wildlife trade,” said Joe Walston,
director of WCS-Asia. “If governments want to protect their wildlife resources,
they need to be serious about enforcement. Clearly, Indonesia is taking a lead
on this front.”
new online market for the illegal wildlife trade could mean extinction for many
of the targeted species. Fewer than 1,000 wild Sumatran tigers remain on the
planet, but poachers continue to kill these big cats for their skins, teeth,
bones, and hair, to sell as traditional medicines, souvenirs, or talismans. The
gall bladders and bones of endangered sun bears are also used in traditional
Chinese medicines. The trade in elephant ivory has long been used for
decorations and jewelry.
illegal wildlife trade is a massive threat in Indonesia. Not only to iconic
animals like the tiger, elephant, and sun bear, but to many protected species
of animals and plants,” said Noviar Andayani, director of WCS-Indonesia. “We
commend the work of the Indonesian police and Forestry Department for their
commitment to uphold and enforce the law, and to track down and arrest suspects
wherever they are operating: be it in a village, a market, or online.”