Congratulations to Leboncoin! At the initiative of IFAW, today France’s classifieds platform is joining an international coalition of online technology companies fighting to put a stop to wildlife cybercrime. Its aim is to reduce online trafficking of wildlife species by 80% by 2020.
Wildlife trafficking contributes to biodiversity loss and, despite rules that are supposed to regulate online commerce, wildlife specimens (live animals and animal parts) of questionable origin continue to be offered for sale. As highlighted in the French newspaper Le Monde, IFAW’s latest research report Disrupt: Wildlife Crime, published in 2018, reported 11,772 specimens of endangered or threatened wildlife species offered for sale via 5,381 ads over a period of six weeks, in only four countries! One of the biggest challenges for law enforcement officials combatting wildlife cybercrime or for our teams monitoring activity is to distinguish, online, between wildlife specimens that are authorized for sale and those that are illegal.
Our joint work with Leboncoin began in 2014, following the publication of our Wanted: Dead or Alive report which found 1,192 ads offering endangered or threatened wildlife for sale in France.
Since then, the online marketplace has made a number of improvements, by implementing stricter rules for the website and banning the sale of ivory items and African grey parrots (ads of the latter fell from 250 in 2014 to 9 in 2018). However, suspicious ads continue to be published, testifying to the need that more must be done.
In collaboration with WWF and TRAFFIC, we have therefore created a global network to combat the criminal networks: the Coalition to End Wildlife Trafficking Online. Today, we applaud Leboncoin’s decision to join this coalition. Leboncoin will become the first European-based e-commerce platform to take this step, paving the way for others to follow. Experience has taught us that it may not be a straight and easy path, but Leboncoin can count on the support of IFAW and the other members of the Coalition (currently 32 companies) to help them rise to the challenge.
We could not have gotten this far without you: you answered our call for help with contacting websites after our 2014 survey; you submitted 281 suspicious ads during the crackdown action week carried out that same year; and you flag dubious ads to me or write directly to websites to push them to act. You are our investigators, but you are also their customers, and they listen to you! Thank you for fighting by our side.
Combatting the plague of wildlife cybercrime is now inextricably linked to Leboncoin’s future.