Worth up to US$30 million a year, this industry depends on the traders for its survival. Chief among them is a secretive local man, I’ve been calling Mr. Big. Working alongside the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), Conservation International (CI), and the Indonesian authorities, we plan to make today his last day in business.
Not much is known about Mr. Big, other than his standing in the industry, and that to take him out of the equation would be a major blow to it – not only internationally, but also to Indonesia which passed laws in February 2014 protecting the manta species. Arresting him would mark the first time in this country’s history that anyone has been brought to justice in a case of marine conservation. It’s also proof of the determination of Indonesian authorities to stamp out the killing of one of the country’s most serene and majestic species; one that attracts US$ 140 million dollars every year in global tourism.. read more