The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) has just released the results of a three-month long probe during which they confirmed that there has been a boon in the trading of both endangered species, and endangered animal parts (sigh), in online markets.
On eBay alone, the International Fund for Animal Welfare found, in just one week, there were as many as 6000 live and parted-out animals representing endanged species (out of a total of more than 9000 animal and animal parts listings).
Animals for sale included a gorilla, a Siberian tiger, and baby chimps, and parts included turtle shells, antelope skins, and full taxidermy specimans, all from endanged species.
The IAFW issued a scathing indictment of the “lucrative trade that is driving the world’s most endangered species to the brink of extinction and causing untold suffering,” with IAFW director Phyllis Campbell-McRae, explaining that “Trade on the internet is easy, cheap and anonymous. However, it is clear that unscrupulous traders and sophisticated criminal gangs are taking advantage of the opportunities provided by the World Wide Web. The result is a cyber black market where the future of the world’s rarest animals is being traded away. This situation must be tackled immediately by governments and website owners before it is too late.”
But the bottom line, as it so often is (take spam, for example) is that the end user is the ones which holds the keys to stopping this scourge. If people weren’t buying, the purveyors wouldn’t be selling. Says Campbell-McRae, “Each one of us also has a responsibility to stop buying and selling wild animals and wildlife products. Trade in wildlife is driven by consumer demand, so when the buying stops, the killing will too. Our message to online shoppers is simple: buying wildlife online is as damaging as killing it yourself.”
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