In a northern region on the island of Sumatra, named Aceh, lays the Limbat’s Zoo. This Zoo holds quite a few native species, including crocodiles, orangutans, sun bears, pangolins, hornbills, and gibbons. You’d think this would be a fun place to visit, but this zoo is not like your typical zoo in the States. These animals are for sale. It’s more like a large pet store than a zoo. The visitors come to check the animals out and can buy them if they want, pretty cheap too. A leopard can go for $25. And to show that this is a place that is transitory and severely frugal, the animals are either packed in small cages or tethered to trees and fed very little. This is the unfortunate truth for the exotic animal pet trade. People catch these animals and try to sell them for a quick buck. The pet trade is actually illegal in Indonesia, but there are hardly any prosecutions. It has a lot to do with government funding. There just isn’t enough police officers to go around.
Over the last decade, the exotic pet trade has seen an increase in the demand for these rare creatures. They are kept as pets, considered a delicacy, or is believed to have some medicinal purposes. These species are seen as a status symbol, so with the rise of income in the Indonesian cities came with it a rise in the demand for these endangered species. The poverty of the small villages that are near the rain forests are also perpetuating the pet trade. Poachers will persuade the villagers for very little money to go and trap the animals. It is a vicious cycle. Education and economic support for the rural communities are vital steps in stopping the pet trade.
- Jones, Aidan. “Why Exotic Animal Trade Grows in Asia.” The Christian Science Monitor. N.p., 28 January 2012. Web. 19 June 2013. <http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Asia-Pacific/2012/0128/Why-exotic-animal-trade-grows-in-Asia>.
Kellogg, Bichard. “Illegal wildlife trade flourishes in Sumatra.” conservation news and environmental science news.. N.p., 10 June 2013. Web. 15 June 2013. <http://news.mongabay.com/2013/0610-kellogg-aceh-wildlife-trade.html>.
“Videos | Aceh.Net.” Aceh.Net | Connecting People. N.p., 8 Nov. 2012. Web. 15 June 2013. <http://aceh.net/videos/>.