Apes continue to be trafficked to meet the demand for pets or zoos. Indonesia, the most diverse country in terms of ape species, has been implicated in the global trade in gibbons, orangutans and, to a lesser degree, chimpanzees. Recently trade has shifted to online platforms, a trend that may have been amplified by the Covid-19 pandemic and partial lockdowns. We assessed the availability of legally protected apes for sale on Facebook and Instagram over two 16-months periods (2017–2018 and 2020–2021). Despite Facebook and Instagram explicitly banning the sale of endangered animals, and Facebook not allowing the sale of live animals, we found 106 gibbons, 17 orangutans and four chimpanzees for sale on five Facebook pages and 19 Instagram accounts. All orangutans and chimpanzees and 70% of the gibbons were infants or juveniles. We did not record any obvious responses of vendors to the Covid-19 pandemic. Facebook and Instagram accounts were linked (similar names, cross-referencing each other and announcing new accounts on existing ones), names were altered (e.g., “petshop” to “pethsop”) and new vendors emerged for short periods. Facebook and Instagram’s policy of not allowing the sale of live and/or endangered wildlife on their platforms is not effectively implemented in Indonesia.
Nijman, VincentSmith, Jaima H.Foreman, GraceCampera, MarcoFeddema, KimNekaris, K.A.I.
Department of Social Sciences
Year of publication: 2021Date of RADAR deposit: 2021-10-08