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Endangered frogs, lizards, turtles, tortoises and exotic birds are advertised online in the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Poland, Belgium, and the Netherlands.
As well as live animals, there is also a roaring trade in dead animals, especially ivory, but also bear and wolf skin.
A six-week investigation by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) early this year found a total of 33,006 endangered wildlife and wildlife parts and products for sale on 280 online market places across 16 countries.
54% of the adverts worldwide were for live animals in the online sweep. The total cost of the advertised animals was US$10,708,137. 1,192 of the 9,482 advertisements investigated were reported to law enforcement.
The investigation targeted the sale of species listed on Appendix I and II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) which regulates and restricts the trade.
Many of the 280 online sites monitored either didn’t ask customers to demonstrate that their trade met with national laws, or else the provisos were hidden to the extent that customers simply wouldn’t be aware of them, IFAW said.
Six of the 16 are EU member states. 79 EU websites were offering animals and animal products for a total cost of €2,173,393
Ivory, or suspected ivory, made up more than 32% of all animals and products for sale worldwide, while reptiles came in a close second, at over 26%. More than 100,000 elephants had lost their lives to ivory poachers in the past three years.
“As poaching reaches alarming levels, wildlife cybercrime poses a sinister, silent threat to endangered species, including elephants, reptiles and birds, enabling criminals to go about their grisly business with anonymity,” said Azzedine Downes, president and CEO of IFAW.
The IFAW exposed the grisly cybertrade in a new report Wanted – Dead or Alive, Exposing Online Wildlife Trade.
It called on new Environment Commissioner Karmenu Vella to deliver an EU Action Plan backed by his predecessor Janez Potočnik.
Una llave para salir a la otra Europa de la UE
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