Wildlife cybercrime worth millions

Green Lifestyle

Research into wildlife cybercrime has revealed more than 33,000 endangered species are currently listed for sale.


Ivory products (made from elephant tusks) account for about a third of all wildlife cybercrimes.

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International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) released a report yesterday revealing the staggering scale of online trade of threatened and endangered animals.

“Wildlife crime can seem like a remote problem but the Internet brings it into everyone’s home,” said Josey Sharrad, Campaigner IFAW Australia.

“Our research has exposed only a fraction of wildlife cybercrime. If you think about all the countries in the world where people are using the Internet, then it is obvious the scale of the trade is mind-blowing.”

The comprehensive analysis in the report, Wanted – Dead or Alive; Exposing Online Wildlife Trade, on multi-million dollar trade in wild animals was performed over six weeks period in early 2014, on 280 online market places across 16 countries.

The investigation found out those more than 33,000 protected wildlife animals available for sale online, estimated to be worth almost 11 million USD.

"The team found a menagerie of wildlife for sale, both dead and alive,” said Sharrad.

“The highest number of adverts for large, live animals were found in Russia and Ukraine, and this raises concerns for the welfare of these animals that are being traded as a commodity.

“Overall, ivory was the most commonly touted product in the online adverts, accounting for almost a third. Given that an elephant is killed now every 15 minutes, it is incredibly disturbing,” warned Sharrad.

Much of the online and offline trade in wildlife and their parts is legal. However, police are investigating many of such advertisements that imposed legality concern.

Wildlife crime is a global threat, which ranks as the fourth most profitable illegal trade among human trafficking, drugs, goods counterfeit, and illegal arm sales.

Individuals can help to stop wildlife crime through the World Wildlife Fund’s campaign here.