Target: Trade Records Analysis of Flora and Fauna in Commerce (TRAFFIC)
Goal: Protect endangered species by shutting down the illegal web trade of wildlife products
The illegal buying and selling of wildlife products has recently exploded on the internet. Everything from rhinoceros horn, to elephant ivory, to rare reptiles can be bought and sold on the web, with many sites being in plain view of the typical web surfer. The proliferation of wildlife trade on the internet is having a significant impact, and it is believed that the internet is the number one threat to some endangered species. Although this does mean that more traditional methods of trade have been reduced greatly, it is now time to focus on shutting down the web trade. The web has been the primary resource for many illegal traders over the past decade, and the industry has seen an expansion at the expense of threatened species. TRAFFIC is a wildlife trade monitoring network that is aware of the problem and working to shut down web trafficking. Please sign the petition below to bring awareness to this increasing problem, and urge TRAFFIC to end the illegal internet trade of wildlife products.
A search on eBay will unearth a variety of illegal wildlife products if one knows a few key terms. Acronyms, misspellings, and code words are often used. A search for ‘ox bone’ will retrieve over 5,000 results for elephant ivory on eBay. Traffickers do use more covert tools like password protected sites, encryption and list-serves. However, the majority of trade is easily visible to the general public if a few key factors are known.
Trafficking is flourishing on the internet because there is still a high demand for rare and illegal animal products. Ivory is still coveted for decorative purposes. Rhino horns are still thought to be useful in medicine in some cultures, and leopard and polar bear skins are both big money makers. The illegal pet trade is apart of this problem as well. Many rare reptile, bird, and fish species are bought and sold online.
Although public awareness has increased dramatically about poaching and wildlife conservation, not enough has been done to eliminate the trade of wildlife products over the internet. Sign this petition to encourage groups like TRAFFIC and law enforcement to continue to monitor and crack down on illegal internet traffickers.
The proliferation of illegal trafficking of wildlife products on the internet is a significant threat to many endangered species. Your organization has brought to light the level at which the illegal trade has risen to. Traffickers are using common sites such as eBay to market everything from elephant ivory to rhinoceros horns, to rare reptile and bird species. The internet is becoming the primary resource for many illegal traders. Please continue your work to monitor illegal trading, and work with law enforcement to prosecute those participating in the illegal trade of wildlife products.
eBay has banned the sale of elephant ivory but this has not stopped traffickers. They commonly use code words like ‘ox bone’, acronyms, or misspellings to sidestep bans. While the internet has facilitated illegal trading, it has also made it easier to track their dealings, as your organization pointed out.
Unfortunately, products from endangered species as well as rare live animals are still in high demand for various reasons. Please continue to monitor the illegal trade of wildlife products via the internet and end this threat to endangered species.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: lusakaagreement.org