Jakarta - Jakarta police have apprehended a man with US$7,499 worth of endangered species purchased over Instagram.
The Jakarta Police on Tuesday announced the arrest of a 42-year-old man identified only by the initials AM, who was in possession of three endangered animals worth almost Rp 100 million (US$7,499).
AM had bought a clouded leopard, a sun bear and an orangutang, all of them still infants, through Instagram, said Jakarta Police spokesperson Argo Yuwono.
Clouded leopards and sunbeams are classified as “vulnerable” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature red list, while orangutang are classified as critically endangered.
“Our preliminary investigation led us to a house in Pejaten, South Jakarta, where we caught AM red-handed keeping the three animals in captivity,” Argo said during a press conference, adding that the discovery had been done last January.
The clouded leopard was sold at a staggering Rp 60 million (US$4,500), while the sun bear and orangutan were priced at Rp 15 million and Rp 25 million, respectively.
Southeast Asia is a major hotspot for the wildlife trafficking industry, with much demand coming from China and Vietnam for traditional medicine.
There is a growing market, however, for “status” symbols such as rare pets or decorative items like skins and trophies, according to Cambodia-based Wildlife Alliance, which runs the region’s largest rescue centre.
Further investigation by the Jakarta police showed that AM was an animal collector and enthusiast, Argo said. Police, however, had not managed to find the sellers of the vulnerable animals.
The animals have been handed over to the Natural Resource Conservation Agency.
The suspect was charged under a 1990 law on the conservation of natural resources and the ecosystem and faces a maximum five-year jail sentence and a Rp 100 million (US$7,500) fine.