Wildlife hunting and poaching goes on Facebook

Screenshot from Facebook of people displaying their 'loot'.
Screenshot from Facebook of people displaying their 'loot'.
Screenshot from Facebook of people displaying their 'loot'.

PETALING JAYA: Poachers and hunters have now turned to Facebook as a platform to post their hunting spoils including photos of their "loot" before plating it up.

There are now groups on Facebook where hunters and poachers have been posting up their catch of the day, from the moment the animal is killed, to chopping it up and serving it hot.

These wild animals are butchered for their parts as well as their exotic meat.

Checks by theSun on one group, which appears to have most Facebook users in Sarawak, shows wild animals like the Malay weasel, Asiatic softshell turtles, macaque, clouded leopard, langurs, snakes, and pangolins, dead and some being cleaned to be eaten.

The more popular posts in the group are of wild boar and seafood.

This is not the first time Facebook has become a platform for the buying and selling of wildlife.

Last year, Traffic, the wildlife trade monitoring network, published a report after monitoring some 14 Facebook groups that were facilitating online wildlife trafficking.

Traffic told theSun that hunting of protected wildlife and illegal online wildlife trade have become more obvious on social media.

"This isn't the first time the posting of hunted wildlife on Facebook has become an issue. This certainly isn't the only page or social media platform that showcases it and Sarawak isn't the only place where showing off protected wildlife kills on social media is a problem. We see this problem across the region," Elizabeth John, Traffic Southeast Asia senior communication officer, told theSun.

After checking the photos that appeared on the group, Elizabeth said the list of species paraded on this group is a real concern and Sarawak authorities should formulate a plan of action to deal with this.

Pangolins are a critically endangered species and clouded leopards are vulnerable, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List last year.

"In order to take action against law breakers, authorities will have to catch each in possession of the protected animals - a monumental task in this case. This is a painfully clear example of why Sarawak needs to urgently strengthen and improve its wildlife laws," she added.