JAKARTA: Indonesian police say they saved a young sun bear, a clouded leopard and a baby orangutan from the wildlife trade after a tip from conservationists who tracked the illegal activities through Instagram.
Jakarta police spokesman Prabowo Argo Yuwono said Abdul Malik was arrested on Tuesday in a raid on his southern Jakarta house where the animals were found caged.
Malik told police he arranged for the purchase of the animals through Instagram messages and paid 25 million rupiah ($1,900) for the orangutan, 15 million rupiah ($1,125) for the sun bear and 60 million rupiah ($4,500) for the leopard.
Yuwono said the police were helped by conservationists who were tracking an Instagram account they believed to be a front for the illegal trade in threatened species. Police are still searching for the wildlife trader.
Orangutans, found only in Borneo and Sumatra, are critically endangered, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, which publishes the authoritative "Red List" of threatened species. It says the sun bear and Sunda clouded leopard are both vulnerable species.
The habitats of the three species in Indonesia have been dramatically reduced by destruction of tropical forests for mining and plantations.
Violations of Indonesia's conservation law are punishable by up to five years in prison and a 100 million rupiah ($7,500) fine.