These online sales are truly horrible.
A wildlife crime study found 33,000 illegal items worth millions for sale online. The advertisements included live tigers, orangutans and a ‘toilet-trained’ gorilla. Emerald boas, hummingbirds, poison dart frogs and many other living creatures are also available. Also for sale are items made from endangered species like a cup fashioned out of a rhino horn or a polar bear skin rug.
The International Fund for Animal Welfare worked with law enforcement officials to look at the online trade in 16 countries over a six week period in early 2014.
They group found over 33,000 animals and items that should be protected by international laws. Many of the online posts identified are now being investigated by police.
“As poaching reaches alarming levels, wildlife cybercrime poses a sinister, silent threat to endangered species, enabling criminals to go about their grisly business with anonymity,” said Azzedine Downes, president and chief executive of IFAW.
Illegal wildlife sales are the fourth most profitable illegal trade following drugs, counterfeit goods and human trafficking.
“Wildlife crime can seem like a remote problem but the internet brings it into everyone’s home,” said Philip Mansbridge, IFAW’s UK director. He said the report 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”.