Jakarta. Indonesia is Southeast Asia's largest market for the illegal trade of exotic animals, catering to both domestic and international clients, according to the National Police's criminal investigation unit Bareskrim.
“Indonesia is the number one market for rare species due largely to its sheer size,” Bareskrim director Brig. Gen. Yazid Fanani said in Jakarta on Saturday, as quoted by Antara news.
As most transaction are conducted online, he added, the police's cyber crimes division will conduct its own investigation while Bareskrim detectives coordinate with foreign embassies, the International Police, foreign law enforcement agencies and environmental organizations.
US Deputy Ambassador to Indonesia Brian McFeeters praised the country's increased efforts in combating the illegal sale of endangered species, saying he "personally and institutionally supports Indonesia in its fight."
The country has seen an alarming increase in the trade of animals and animal parts in recent months, with almost weekly reports of raids on warehouses, ships and ports thwarting the efforts of smugglers.
Last month, Jakarta Police arrested six people, including a Libyan national, caught in possession of several protected species, including a clouded leopard, a sun bear, four birds of paradise and a siamang, a species of gibbon. The animals were destined for the exotic pet trade in the Middle East, with the Libyan man acting as a buyer for clients in Dubai and Kuwait.
The Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA) last week raided a ship docked at Surabaya's Tanjung Perak port carrying 2,711 rare birds bound for illegal trade in Jakarta.
The precious cargo included 557 mynahs, 1,411 greater green leafbirds and 712 white-rumped shamas.