Indonesia cracks down on wildlife trade

2011-02-17 16:34
Jakarta - An Indonesian man has been arrested for allegedly using the internet to sell hundreds of illegal wildlife parts - from ivory and tiger skins to the teeth of the world's smallest bears, officials said on Thursday.

The parts were allegedly destined for both domestic and international markets and several other suspects were being pursued, said Darori, director general of the Forestry Ministry.

The suspect was arrested in his art shop during a raid on February 9 carried out by police and forestry officials in the capital, Jakarta, he said, adding that the US-based Wildlife Conservation Society helped tip off authorities.

They found 26 items at the scene and hundreds more waiting to be shipped by courier service, including teeth from sun bears, native to Southeast Asia.

"This is just the first case," said Darori. "If you are trying to sell wildlife online, beware. We will catch you and you will be prosecuted."

Indonesia, made up of more than 17 000 islands straddling the equator, is of the most biologically sensitive corners of the earth, with thousands of animal species, many of which can't be found anywhere else.

But many of its animals - from rhino and orang-utans to sharks - are under threat because of the illegal wildlife trade. They are used for food, medicines, skins, biomedical research and souvenirs and sold as pets.

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