Makassar, Indonesia (September 15, 2016) South Sulawesi Regional Police conducted an operation on September 9, 2016, to tackle online trade of protected and endangered species in Makassar. The operation resulted in the seizure of evidence that included 7 knobbed hornbills (Aceros cassidix), 3 rare Sulawesi hawk-eagles (Spizaetus lanceolatus), and horn of sambar deer (Rusa unicolor).

The operation was informed by preliminary investigative work done by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS)-Indonesia Program’s Wildlife Crimes Unit (WCU). 

Director of the Special Crime Investigation (Direskrimsus) South Sulawesi Regional Police, Police Senior Commissioner (AKBP) Heri Dahana said, “We appreciate the collaboration between the police and WCS’s WCU. We advise the community to conserve rare and protected species. Poaching and trading of those species is against the law.”

Identified as MN and IR, the wildlife traders were arrested at a residence in Makassar. MN acted as the trader of protected wildlife and IR was the caretaker of the animals.

MN began selling protected animals through Facebook and Blackberry messenger in 2015. According to the WCU’s investigation, he was an active supplier to buyers in Java of protected species such as knobbed hornbill, cockatoos and lories, and of protected animal parts. 

WCU Manager Dwi Adhiasto said, ”We highly appreciate the efforts of South Sulawesi Regional Police with whom we have been working together to combat trafficking in endangered and protected birds in Sulawesi. We worked hand in hand with the police to investigate the case and conducted a successful operation.  We will follow the penalty phase of this case closely to ensure these and other illegal traders are deterred from this type of behavior in the future.” 

WCS-Indonesia’s Country Director Dr. Noviar Andayani explained, “Indonesia is among the top five mega-diversities in the world, and is home to 17 percent of the bird species and 12 percent of the mammal species of the world. The value of the illegal wildlife trade in Indonesia alone is estimated to reach USD 1 billion per year. This activity has led to the decline of many species, including those that are protected and endangered. The illegal wildlife trade and loss of habitat are among the greatest threats to endangered species in the country. Factoring in the legal unsustainable trade reveals huge economic, social, and ecological losses.”

 WCS’s Wildlife Crimes Unit is supported by the Liz Claiborne and Art Ortenberg Foundation, the UK Government's IWT Challenge Fund, the United States International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs Bureau and the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF). The Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund is a joint initiative of l’Agence Française de Développement, Conservation International, the European Union, the Global Environment Facility, the Government of Japan, the MacArthur Foundation and the World Bank. A fundamental goal is to ensure civil society is engaged in biodiversity conservation.