Many people love seeing sweet photos and videos of wild animals like slow lorises or tiger cubs cuddling with their human keepers. On the surface, these wildlife interactions may appear sweet and innocent, but they are actually fueled by the illegal wildlife trade. The illegal wildlife trade is one of the world’s most lucrative illicit trades and plays a major role in species extinction. Most people rarely get to see what has to happen for exotic animals to become pets, but thanks to the work of rescue organizations like International Animal Rescue (IAR), the brutal reality is being called to the fore.

Recently, two wildlife traders were caught red-handed by the police. The illegal wildlife traffickers’ arrest was a result of an operation carried out by the Quick Reaction Forestry Police (SPORC) and the West Kalimantan Police Department. The suspects were trading wild animals on social media when they finally got caught. They first denied they were selling the animals illegally but eventually confessed to the crime. Once the officers got to the special cargo, they discovered a number of protected wild animals, all stuffed into cardboard boxes.

The boxes were all taped up and ready to be delivered to the buyers. Inside, the animals were waiting in total darkness and with little room to move.

Among the animals were a Bornean Slow Loris, a Leopard Cat, a Javan Hawk-Eagle, a Wallace’s Hawk-Eagle, and a Crested Hawk-Eagle.

The slow loris is now receiving necessary treatment and care at the International Animal Rescue center in Ketapang.

The other confiscated animals are currently recovering at the Natural Resources Conservation (BKSDA) Centre.

The officers found also 31 feathers from a Crested Hawk-Eagle. One of the detainees admitted that the feathers came from adult eagles that had been shot so that the men could take their chicks.



A dead chick was also found at the suspect’s warehouse. The living animals did not escape injuries – one of the eagles had a wounded leg, a result of being tied up. The seized animals were suffering from great stress after being taken out of their natural home by force and closed in little boxes. They are now beginning the vitally important process of rehabilitation that will make it possible for them to eventually return to the wild, where they should be.

Click here to learn more about International Animal Rescue.

All image source: International Animal Rescue/Facebook