Indonesian authorities have arrested five smugglers on charges of illegal wildlife trading via Facebook. The smugglers have been identified only by their initials. They were arrested in Semarang and Surabaya for allegedly trafficking Komodo dragons – the world’s largest lizard – along with bearcats, cockatoos and cassowary birds. The animals were reportedly advertised and sold via social media.
Frans Mangera, a spokesman from the East Java Police, said that the Komodo dragons were sold for Rp15 to 20million. In a separate case, Mangera mentioned that three people have also been arrested in East Java for the online sale of otters, leopard cats and pangolins. The police also discovered that the animals are often sent abroad to other buyers. “These animals are sold for traditional medicine. Komodo dragons could be used to make an antibiotic,” Rofiq Ripto Himawan, a police commissioner in East Java stated.
The illegal trafficking of endangered animals remains widespread in the Indonesian archipelago, despite the heavy penalties and fines imposed by the government. The news of the illegal trading of Komodo dragons came only a day after authorities seized more than 5,000 pig-nosed turtles from smugglers in Papua. Last week, a Russian tourist was also caught smuggling a baby orangutan at Denpasar’s airport. He could face up to 5 years in prison if convicted.
Source: Channel News Asia