Screenshots taken by the petitioning veterinarian. (Image courtesy of Change.org)

Vet Slams E-Commerce Firms Over Sale of Ivory Items

BY :BASTEN GOKKON

SEPTEMBER 29, 2015

Jakarta. An Indonesian veterinarian has launched an online petition against three local e-commerce websites for facilitating the sale of products that sellers claimed were made of ivory.

"Can you imagine someone coming to your house and just pulls out your teeth, causing you to die?" Wisnu Wardana said in his petition, which he submitted to Change.org on Saturday.

He also recalled the recent mysterious death of a Sumatran elephant named Yongki, who was found with both tusks believed to be hacked off, and a blue tongue, indicating the animal died from poisoning.

Wisnu says in the petition that he was shocked to find accounts on several e-commerce websites -- Lazada.co.id, Bukalapak.com and Tokopedia.com -- that appeared to be offering ivory-based items such as bracelets and rings.

The vet presents screenshots with the petition to prove his claims.

"I was extremely shocked […] these are illegal products and sold online," he says.

"In our regulations, we mention that all Bukalapak.com accounts are prohibited from using the site to violate Indonesian laws or those of other countries," Achmad Zaky, chief executive and co-founder of the website, said in a statement published on Tuesday. "We have deactivated the page that sells the ivory through our site."

Separately, Lazada and Tokopedia also issued statements on Tuesday denouncing the practice, according to local media reports. Both companies said they had closed down the offending accounts and would no longer do business with the people behind them.

It was immediately clear whether any criminal charges would be filed.

A search by the Jakarta Globe on Tuesday afternoon did not yield any results for ivory-related keywords on any of the sites, and the Globe was not able to establish whether any of the companies had any knowledge of the nature of the items being sold through their websites before Wisnu launched his petition.

The e-commerce companies in question allow large numbers of third-party sellers to offer a wide variety of products through their websites.

The sale of body parts of endangered animals, such as the Sumatran elephant, is illegal in Indonesia.

There are estimated to be fewer than 3,000 Sumatran elephants left in the wild. The International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resource (IUCN) lists the species as critically endangered, or just a step away from extinction.

Wisnu's petition had already garnered the support of more than 25,000 people by early Tuesday evening.

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