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Indonesian police have arrested smugglers selling Komodo dragons online.
Last March, five animal smugglers were apprehended after being caught using Facebook to sell endangered animals. Komodo dragons, which are the world’s largest lizards, were among the animals on sale.
The police recovered five Komodo dragons after arresting the smugglers. However, the smugglers had already sold over 41 Komodo dragons for up to $1,400 each. The smugglers captured the reptiles from Flores Island and were about to deliver the remaining five dragons to Singapore. From there, the animals would have been transported to three countries in Southeast Asia.
The smuggling of Komodo dragons is a very lucrative but illegal business in Indonesia. In the past, smugglers had sold Komodo dragons for prices ranging from $1,000 to $1,400 apiece. The reptiles, which are often kept as exotic pets, are sold at extravagant prices because their blood can be used to create antibiotics.
Komodo dragons are an endangered species found in a group of islands in Indonesia. They are threatened not only by smuggling but also by the destruction of their natural habitat at the hands of locals and tourists. As of last year, only around 6,000 dragons have been accounted for, with only 350 females capable of reproducing.
To save Komodo dragons, national and international regulatory bodies have passed laws against the reptile’s exploitation. Indonesian law punishes smuggling these animals with prison terms and high fines reaching $7,000. International environmental laws, such as the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, also protect Komodo dragons.