Jakarta. Wildlife Conservation Society, or WCS, on Friday (13/10) said at least 40 percent of illegal wildlife traders in Indonesia have been using online platforms to make transactions since 2011.
"At first, they traded wildlife animals on Facebook and Blackberry Messenger," Noviar Andayani, country director of WCS, said in Jakarta.
She said the number of websites used for illegal wildlife trading has increased greatly since then without providing details.
Many animals are illegally hunted in Indonesia, a condition made worse by the increasing number of logging trails and roads in forest areas.
Noviar said 49 cases of illegal wildlife trading were recorded in the last six years and 70 percent of those cases have been taken to court.
Adj. Comr. Idam Wasiadi of the National Police's cyber crime unit said wildlife traders prefer to make transactions online since they assume authorities will find it more difficult to track them.
"They can do their transactions anonymously online," Idam said.
He said the traders use Virtual Private Network (VPN) on their computers to hide their real Internet Protocol (IP) address or use the dark web, which is not indexed by search engines.
Khairul Saleh, director of communication and advocacy at World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Indonesia, said illegal wildlife trade has "gone digital" due to high demand.
"People think collecting endangered wild animals will earn them prestige," Khairul said.
He said there are many social media groups dedicated to lovers of wild endangered animals.
"This is one of the reasons why illegal wildlife trade is flourishing," Khairul said.
He said communities in forest areas should be educated so they understand the severity of the endangered wildlife crisis.
"This is because the perpetrators often try to get communities involved in the trade to compromise them," Khairul said.