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Primates and monkeys sold online in EU

Barbary apes are being put up for sale on websites in Poland. [Stephen Zopf/Flickr]

Barbary apes are being put up for sale on websites in Poland. [Stephen Zopf/Flickr]

Primates and monkeys are being sold in the European Union through websites like eBay, an investigation has found.

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

  • There were 27 adverts for primates in Poland, including Barbary apes, savanna and patas monkeys, and marmosets. The total cost of “products” offered on 12 online marketplaces was €98,727.02.
  • The majority (about 70%) of the online ads in Germany, across 13 websites, were for turtles and tortoises at a total cost of €496,832.
  • Dutch collectors were bidding for exotic frogs, lizards, and birds. 11 sites were offering animals worth €72,072.
  • A third of UK ads were for ivory but, in a finding unique to Britain, 61 owls were also being sold. 13 sites were selling for a combined €380,520.97.
  • Birds and turtles were on sale in France, but birds and turtles each made up a quarter of the adverts. 17 online marketplaces were selling for a combined amount of €984,100.
  • Belgium’s trade was dominated by ivory. 13 sites offered products worth €141,141.

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.

Read whole story.

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This entry was posted on December 8, 2014 by in Environment, Journalism and tagged , , , , , , .

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