The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) has been researching the threat that online wildlife trade poses to endangered species since 2004. During that time, our research in over 25 countries around the globe has revealed the vast scale of trade in wildlife and their parts and products on the world’s largest marketplace, the Internet - a market that is open for business 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Whilst legal trade exists in respect of many species of wildlife, online platforms can provide easy opportunities for criminal activities. Trade over the Internet is often largely unregulated and anonymous, often with little to no monitoring or enforcement action being taken against wildlife cybercriminals. In addition, cyber-related criminal investigations are complicated by jurisdictional issues, with perpetrators in different geographical locations and laws differing from country to country. This poses a serious threat to the survival of some of the world’s most iconic species and the welfare of individual animals.
This report outlines the results of new IFAW research in seven different countries in Africa, exploring the availability of wild animals and their products in an area of the world with a rapid growth in access to the Internet.
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