Indonesia told to block websites selling wildlife

INDONESIA - A wildlife conservation NGO is calling the Indonesian government to take tougher measures against Internet wildlife trade.

ProFauna Indonesia campaigner Bayu Sandi said there had been flourishing trade of protected wildlife in Indonesia via the Internet.

On Kaskus, he cited an example, there had been 220 advertisements offering wildlife and wildlife products in January this year.

At least 22 types of rare wildlife and wildlife products were advertised in the forum, namely hawksbill sea turtles, elephant ivory, lemurs, Javan lutungs, Javan eagles, tiger skin, birds of paradise or Cendrawasih, forest cats, Javan surilis, palm cockatoo, and scaly anteater.

"The rare species that have been protected are offered at varying prices. A lemur is selling at Rp 200,000 (US$16.8) per individual animal, Siamang gibbon Rp 3 million, Javan hawk around Rp 2-5 million, and black head parrot Rp 1 million," Bayu said on Thursday.

He said the illegal wildlife traders came from areas across Indonesia, such as from Banda Aceh, Bandung, Banten, Batam, Jakarta, Medan, Semarang, Surabaya, Surakarta, and Yogyakarta.

"The online illegal trade of protected wildlife is alarming as it will affect wildlife conservation," Bayu said.

He said that ProFauna had warned Kaskus and the forum had agreed to work with the NGO to delete the wildlife trade advertisements.

"ProFauna warmly welcomes Kaskus' move to delete the advertisements but wildlife trade is not only advertised on Kaskus but also on other websites, including social media, such as Facebook. This has been very difficult to control," Bayu said.

Wildlife trade is illegal in Indonesia. Law No.5/1990 on conservation stipulates that protected wildlife traders, if found guilty, could face 5 years in prison and a maximum Rp 100 million fine.

"ProFauna urges the government get serious and be proactive in tackling wildlife trade on the Internet by enforcing laws," said Bayu. (ebf)