Indonesian authorities busted a man selling illegal wildlife products on the Internet, reports the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS).
The February 9th raid was conducted by the Indonesian Police and Indonesian Department of Forestry and followed an investigation into internet advertisements for protected wildlife.
The suspect was using an art shop as the base of his operations. Elephant ivory, sun bear parts, tiger bones, skins, and teeth, and other products were seized during the raid.
The action is important because it demonstrates a coordinated effort by law enforcement in a country where wildlife laws have often been ignored. WCS has been involved with training police and other ministries in combatting the illegal wildlife trade.
“If 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, in a statement. “The Indonesian Government is committed to stopping illegal wildlife trade wherever it occurs and strengthening its commitments to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). The increase in internet advertisements is worrying, but this arrest shows that cyber space is no hiding place.”
Trafficking is taking a toll on Indonesia’s wildlife. Critically endangered species including tiger and rhinos, as well as other threatened wildlife, are being killed for the traditional Chinese medicine market.
ProFauna, a conservation group, estimates wildlife smuggling in Indonesia is worth 9 trillion Rupiah ($990 million) per year.