Jakarta is an international hub for exporting exotic wildlife and birds. Centrally located on the Island of Java wildlife dealers have many jungles within reach to acquire animals from. Although Java itself is rich with rainforests and wildlife it also neighbours Sumatra, Borneo, Thailand, and Malaysia therefore the opportunities appear endless for this dirty business.
I had been told that the live animal markets in Jakarta are a living hell on earth for animals. I found nothing less. Wandering through these busy markets I could not stop thinking of how we are raping the jungles. I imagined how the poachers must stomp through the forests grabbing any species that they find. Ripping animals from their lush green branches and from their families. Hurling them into dark sacks, hungry and scared only to find themselves days later in this scorching and polluted market. Nowhere on earth could be further from nature for these poor animals. In downtown Jakarta these recently stolen animals are cramped into filthy metal cages, covered in their own feces, kicked by passing children, breathing air filled with exhaust fumes and hearing only the sounds of honking horns and shouting humans.
To make matters worse for these animals many of them are nocturnal. Animals like the Slow Loris, Flying Squirrels, Bats and Owls should be sleeping according to their natural instincts but instead are on display inside this hectic market. Often they are in a small cage pressed against another cell imprisoning their natural predator and/or prey. To make matters EVEN worse most of the animals that are for sale at this miserable place are babies; frightened disorientated babies who all should still be under their mother’s care. It seemed to me that each frightened face was living peacefully only days before. Now thrust into the filth and chaos of Jakarta markets wondering, “how in the world did this happen to me?” Many of them already sick and exhausted probably don’t even survive.
It is easy to stand back and blame these “evil people” in foreign lands of ripping these innocent animals out of the wild and putting them through hell to make a buck but they are not solely to blame. Most of these wild animals are traded and sold around the world. They will fill our zoos and entertain us in commercials, films and on greeting cards. If we financially support any industry that uses wild animals we are employing the poachers who rip these innocent souls from their homes, families and natural world.