Investigating Illegal Wildlife Trafficking

The APE Sentinel team works across North Sumatra, investigating the illegal wildlife trade, which has led to some significant arrests and major confiscations of protected wildlife. 

Towards the end of 2022, the team investigated a bird market in the capital city Medan. The market consists of twelve stalls located on the roadside near traffic.The team found wildlife being sold at the market including long-tailed macaques, peacocks, songbirds, bats and cockatoos. The sellers not only sell their animals in this market but also take orders from their online shop, which is an increasingly common way for animal trade to take place.

The bird market is legal and all animals and birds being sold at the market are not protected by law, so they were unable to confiscate any species. Compared to previous years, there are fewer kiosks as the trade has mostly moved into online sales. The sad truth is that the animals being displayed are not protected by law. However we know through previous experience that the animal traders will endeavour to source and sell protected species to interested patrons. 

One of the reasons the team is based in Medan is that the city is one the key hubs for wildlife trade in Southeast Asia, sourcing species from the whole island of Sumatra for sale both in the markets and online. This is big business. There is still a lot of work to do to change this situation, and the APE Sentinel team will continue to monitor and be vigilant with markets such as these, confiscating animals and animal products where they find evidence of protected species being trafficked.

We’re sure that with the support of our wonderful donors, the APE Sentinel team will continue to bring about change in the world of conservation, especially for orangutans and other wildlife in Medan and nearby areas.

You can support this vital and challenging work with a donation.

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