Ivory and tiger body parts for sale on NZ Trade Me site

Wednesday, 21 May, 2014

The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) today launched Click to Delete, a report that exposes the sale of endangered animal products on New Zealand’s most popular online trading platform Trade Me.

“Over the short survey period, we found that the popular Trademe.co.nz platform hosted 20 adverts offering up CITES Appendix 1 products – those banned from international trade - including 17 ivory figures and jewellery, one tiger claw and two marine turtle shells,” commented Ms Isabel McCrea, IFAW Regional Director New Zealand and Australia.

The research also found 13 advertisements for Appendix II items – vulnerable animals that can only be traded under permits - including 11 reptile products (crocodile and python skin accessories as well as an entire stuffed crocodile), an entire stuffed bear and a bear rug with skull.

“A number of Australian and international online trading platforms have policies prohibiting the sale of protected or endangered species. We urge Trade Me to do the same and ensure that no one profits from the cruel sale of protected wildlife. Currently they are doing nothing to stop people advertising the sale of endangered species and that needs to change,” said Ms McCrea.

“Gumtree NZ is the only New Zealand site that prohibits the sale of protected or endangered species; however we would like to see their policy more prominently displayed and enforced. All New Zealand online trading platforms should implement compulsory ‘pop up’ notices at the point of sale which warn traders that they may be breaking the law and require inclusion of permit information in all advertisements for wildlife products.”

“The good news is that when compared to Australia, New Zealand had very few items offered for sale. The bad news is that it looks as though New Zealanders may be buying and selling items from overseas trading platforms. We did find one Auckland-based seller offering rhino horn on Quicksales.com.au at a cost of $230,000,” said Ms McCrea.

“IFAW is also calling on the New Zealand government to do much more to stop online wildlife crime. The online trading environment is fast moving and requires active management to outlaw unscrupulous traders and deter those who are unaware of the law. The government should tighten the law, making it an offense to offer protected species for sale,” concluded Ms McCrea.

The international trade in endangered animals is now big business, valued at NZD $22 billion worldwide, with some products such as rhino horn worth more by weight than gold. Worldwide it is estimated that at least 25,000 elephants and as many as 50,000 are slaughtered each year for their ivory meaning that one elephant is killed for its ivory every 15 minutes. At the same time the internet, with an ever growing number of users, is the world’s largest marketplace. Always open for business, it offers relative anonymity to sellers, making policing and enforcement more difficult than traditional methods of sale.

Notes to editors:

• Copies of Click to Delete are available upon request or download here.
• Interviews with Isabel McCrea can be organised, please contact: Rosa Argent: M: 0212063561 , E: rosa.argent@gmail.com Or Rebekka Thompson-Jones: T: +61 (0)2 9288 4973, M: +61 (0)401 090 034, E: rthompson@ifaw.org

Report Methology:

• Researchers spent 200 hours monitoring 16 websites, 14 of which are hosted in Australia, one in New Zealand and one in China using a variety of key words designed to find endangered or vulnerable species thought to be commonly in trade.

About IFAW (the International Fund for Animal Welfare)
Founded in 1969, IFAW saves animals in crisis around the world, and has been active in Oceania for over 30 years. With projects in more than 40 countries, IFAW rescues individual animals, works to prevent cruelty to animals, and advocates for the protection of wildlife and habitats.  For more information, visit www.ifaw.org, follow us on Facebook or Twitter

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Press Contact

Rebekka Thompson-Jones (IFAW AU)
Contact phone:
+61 (0)2 9288 4973
Contact mobile:
+61 (0)401 090 034
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