Multi-agency approach to counter wildlife trade on the Internet

Thursday, November 20, 2008
Beijing, China
The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW- www.ifaw.org) and Taobao (www.taobo.com.cn), China’s largest internet auction site, jointly announced a series of online activities to counter illegal wildlife trade on the Internet.   

The rise of the Internet is contributing to the rapid growth of illegal trade in wildlife, which is having a devastating effect on animals and ecosystems. Fast, convenient and anonymous, trading of wildlife on the Internet is posing a major challenge to wildlife conservation and law enforcement.

According to a recently published report by IFAW, Killing with Keystrokes: An Investigation of the Illegal Wildlife Trade on the World Wide Web, Internet trade in wildlife poses a significant and immediate threat to the survival of many endangered species. The report, which followed a six-week investigation that tracked more than 7,000 wildlife product listings on 183 Web sites in 11 countries, found that elephant ivory dominated the trade, comprising 73% of all product listings tracked. Exotic birds were second, accounting for nearly 20% of the listings tracked. Primates, big cats and other animals are also falling victim to the e-trade in live animals and wildlife products, according to the report.

In an unprecedented collaboration, IFAW and Taobao jointly launched a month-long campaign to raise awareness about the unsustainable trade of wildlife on the Internet. The Taobao site initiated a series of online activities to encourage consumer participation in combating the illegal trade in wild animals and their parts and products. An IFAW e-store is opened on Taobao, where netizens can report online illegal wildlife trade activities in exchange for IFAW gifts and wildlife conservation information.

“IFAW has conducted numerous investigations of online trade in wildlife since 2005 in China and has received enormous support from government agencies and the Internet companies,” said Grace Ge Gabriel, IFAW’s Asia Regional Director. “It is extremely satisfying to see that the results of our investigation were used to enhance law enforcement, and 95% of the illegal wildlife items we found in online trade were eliminated by the Web site companies.”

"Taobao takes corporate social responsibility seriously,” said Yong Zhang, Chief Operation Officer of Taobao. “We want our clients to conduct trade in a safe, green and animal-friendly environment.”

Dr. Meng Xianlin, Deputy Director General of China CITES Management Authority, commended the collaborative efforts and urged participation by more auction sites and the public. 

Post a comment

Press Contact

何勇/Jeff He (IFAW, China)
Contact phone:
86-10-64643599
Contact email:

Experts

Azzedine Downes,Executive Vice President for International Operations, VP of P
President and Chief Executive Officer
Céline Sissler-Bienvenu, Director, France and Francophone Africa
Director, France and Francophone Africa
Dr. Elsayed Ahmed Mohamed, Regional Director, Middle East and North Africa
Regional Director, Middle East and North Africa
Dr. Maria (Masha) N. Vorontsova, Regional Director, Russia & CIS
Regional Director, Russia & CIS
Grace Ge Gabriel, Regional Director, Asia
Regional Director, Asia
Isabel McCrea, Regional Director, Oceania
Regional Director, Oceania
Jeffrey Flocken, Regional Director, North America
Regional Director, North America
Kelvin Alie, Programme Director, Wildlife Trade
Programme Director, Wildlife Trade
Peter Pueschel, Director, International Environmental Agreements
Director, International Environmental Agreements
Campaigner, Germany
Campaigner, Germany
Tania McCrea-Steele, Campaigns and Enforcement Manager, IFAW UK
Campaigns and Enforcement Manager, IFAW UK
Vivek Menon, Director of IFAW partner, Wildlife Trust of India
Regional Director, South Asia