ENV’s Wildlife crime Unit (WCU) has brightened our day today when they reported the current results of their ongoing campaign to remove wildlife advertisements from the internet: they have now managed to secure the removal of 849 of 1039 (81%) advertisements involved in our current internet campaign. Thanks to the hard work of the WCU’s Case Officers we can already consider this campaign to be a success, but with two weeks of the campaign remaining we will not be resting on our laurels, as we aim to get as close to 100% removal as we can.
This campaign began back in Nov 2013 with a 10 day internet survey that uncovered 1039 advertisements related to tiger, bear, rhino, and pangolin products, as well as live animals such as gibbons, langurs, leopard cats, otters and macaques. We are also working to secure agreements from website administrators to become “wildlife safety zones” and prohibit all advertisements for illegal wildlife and wildlife products.
This project was not only about removing advertisements though, for example information from the internet campaign has led to the resolution of many other cases, for example one advertisement led to the confiscation of five otters in Ho Chi Minh City after the WCU, ENV’s HCMC team and the HCMC police set up a sting operation to catch the perpetrators.
One of the Case Officers working on the campaign told us how big a challenge the internet campaign has been for the team: “We have all worked together to check the information and log cases, and we even worked overtime on the day before the Lunar New Year holiday. Sometimes we didn’t know how to deal with so many websites as the process of getting them to remove the ads took so long and was so complicated, but now we are nearing the end of the campaign we are very proud of what we have achieved.”