Spotlight China: Keeping illegal wildlife trade off the Internet
With more than 800 million product listings and more than 370 million registered users, Taobao Marketplace is the largest and most popular consumer-to-consumer online marketplace in China. Taobao Marketplace is wholly owned by Alibaba Group.
The International Fund for Animal Welfare China office has been working with Taobao and Alibaba on stopping illegal wildlife trade since 2005.
At IFAW’s influence Taobao and Alibaba have both established website policies stronger than China’s Wildlife Protection Law, banning the trade of wildlife include elephant ivory, tiger bone and skin, rhino horn, bear bile, turtle shell and shark fin.
IFAW’s monthly online monitoring data helps Taobao to update its “key word screens” to filter out new words unscrupulous traders use to evade detection in order to sell illegal wildlife products.
In September at Taobao’s Internet Trade Fair in Hangzhou, IFAW and The Nature Conservancy set up a booth with the theme: “Why we can’t trade them, say NO to wildlife and wildlife products.” About 1,000 people came to the booth. Through the use of video and the distribution of materials, IFAW encouraged the public, especially Taobao registered users, to report illegal wildlife trade online and reject the consumption of wildlife products.
This exhibit also provided a great opportunity for IFAW to connect with Alibaba Group corporate social responsibility teams and to help them gain a better understanding about IFAW’s values and efforts on the ground.