Wildlife trade on the internet

Yesterday, on April 17, members of CITES, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), and ENV met in Hanoi to discuss illegal online wildlife trade. WCS presented information from their recent study on the matter.



Photo: A quick search for ivory produced this website selling jewelry items.
The website claims the ivory is “100% real” and costs 10 million VND (US$500).

The WCS study determined that at least 108 species are being illegally sold online in Vietnam, with some of the most common items being reptiles, deer, tigers, bear bile, and ivory. The majority of living animals are being bought as pets, while dead animals are being purchased mostly for “medicinal” use. Nearly 70 percent of sales documented in the study came from animals captured or farmed in Vietnam, while the remainder were imported from other countries.

Online advertisements for illegal wildlife in Vietnam can be found on shopping websites, forums, and social networks. However, the majority of advertisements are on personal and private company websites.

One of the main recommendations of the meeting was to enhance the cooperation between website administrators, policy makers, and law enforcement agencies to monitor and prosecute those advertising illegal wildlife. It was also agreed that online violators should be punished for advertising and trading of wildlife separately if they undertake both actions.

Illegal online wildlife trade is an area ENV is planning to focus on more closely in the near future.


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