Indonesia: Ministry steps up online surveillance to end animal smuggling

Antara 4 Oct 17;

Padang, W Sumatra (ANTARA News) - To prevent and halt the rampant online trade of animals, the Environment and Forestry Ministry has scaled up efforts to monitor some social media platforms, an official stated here, Wednesday.

"After monitoring some suspected activities on social media platforms, we found signs of animal smuggling and directly arrested the suspect (for further probe)," Rasio Ridho Sani, the ministrys law enforcement director general, stated during a telephonic conversation in Padang, West Sumatras capital city.

Sani further explained that in order to prevent the animal from becoming extinct, the ministry had committed to crack down on animal smugglers operating online.

In case the ministry finds any indications of smuggling, the law enforcement officer will respond swiftly to arrest the suspects, he added.

According to its initial probe, the ministry said, the smuggling was linked to the global wildlife "black" market.

He remarked that the ministrys law enforcement team had frequently failed to thwart the trade of pangolins from Indonesia to China.

"Based on our investigation, the animal smuggling (racket) is linked to the international criminal network," Sani reiterated.

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the pangolins (Manis javanica) had been listed as critically endangered animals since 2014.

"This species (the pangolin) is listed as Critically Endangered A2d+3d+4d due to the high levels of hunting and poaching for its meat and scales, which is primarily driven by exports to China," the IUCN Red List said on its official website.

Over the last 21 years, the IUCN said, the number of this animal species in the wildlife has declined by over 80 percent.

"The intensity of hunting has now moved to the southern parts of the species habitat," it remarked.

Apart from pangolins, the ministry had also recently seized six wild slow lorises (Nycticebus javanicus) in Agam District, West Sumatra Province.

The suspect, J, who was working with the West Sumatra Conservation Agency, was arrested when he was seeking buyers online.

The IUCN has listed slow lorises as critically endangered since 2013.

"This species is listed as critically endangered due to the combination of historic forest loss and continued degradation of the habitat suitable for the remaining animals," it stated.

The remaining population of slow lorises has now become fragmented, according to the IUCN Red List.

"The number of slow lorises was forecast to decline by at least 80 percent in the past 24 years (equal to three generations) due to severe, persistent, and ongoing persecution to fuel the pet trade," the IUCN remarked.(*)

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