07 March 2018
Leading tech companies unite to reduce online wildlife trafficking by 80% in next 2 years
Google, Microsoft, Facebook and eBay are among companies brought together by WWF, TRAFFIC and IFAW to form the Global Coalition to End Wildlife Trafficking Online
The world’s top e-commerce, technology and social media companies are joining forces to put an end to the online illegal wildlife trade. Convened by WWF, wildlife trade monitoring network TRAFFIC, and International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) the companies have committed to bringing down the online illegal trade in threatened species by 80 per cent by 2020.
21 global technology giants - including Google, Microsoft, eBay, Etsy, Facebook and Instagram – are part of the first-ever Global Coalition to End Wildlife Trafficking Online. As members of the coalition, the companies pledge to work together and for each company to develop and implement policies to help end wildlife trafficking online.
It takes just minutes to find illegal wildlife products for sale online, from elephant ivory carvings to live tigers and cheetah cubs. These sales are generally illegal and in breach of a site’s rules. However, the internet’s global connectivity and relative anonymity of sellers, combined with rapid transport, enable wildlife traffickers to buy, sell and ship animals and wildlife products with just a few clicks. The challenge has been that inconsistent policies across the web have meant where an ad is removed from a site it simply pops up elsewhere. As more traders and consumers move online globally it is a critical time to ensure that social media and e-commerce platforms cannot be exploited by the loopholes to detection created by wildlife traffickers.
Dr Niki Rust, Technical Adviser for Wildlife at WWF said:
“Around 20,000 African elephants are killed each year for their tusks, nearly three rhinos are poached each day in South Africa alone for their horns and one pangolin is taken from the wild every five minutes. Protecting these and countless other incredible animals from this brutal trade can only ever work with global commitments. This pledge from some of the biggest players in tech will make a major difference to the online illegal wildlife trade.”
David Graff, Senior Director, Trust & Safety Global Product Policy, Google said:
“Google is proud to partner with WWF as a founding member of this Coalition, and to join other companies in working to protect endangered species from illegal wildlife trade online.”
The annual value of wildlife crime is estimated to be over £15 billion a year. Countless species are under threat from trafficking, accelerated by online access to consumers, who may be unaware that the product they are buying could be devastating species populations and funding crime gangs.
In October the UK will host a major conference on the illegal wildlife trade, a hugely important meeting where WWF hope to see global leaders make strong commitments to put an end to wildlife crime once and for all.
NOTES TO EDITORS
The founding members of the Global Coalition to End Wildlife Trafficking Online are Alibaba, Baidu, Baixing, eBay, Etsy, Facebook, Google, Huaxia Collection, Instagram, Kuaishou, Mall for Africa, Microsoft, Pinterest, Qyer, Ruby Lane, Shengshi Collection, Tencent, Wen Wan Tian Xia, Zhongyikupai, Zhuanzhuan and 58 Group, convened by WWF, TRAFFIC, and IFAW.
WWF is one of the world’s largest independent conservation organisations, with more than five million supporters and a global network active in more than one hundred countries. Through our engagement with the public, businesses and government, we focus on safeguarding the natural world, creating solutions to the most serious environmental issues facing our planet, so that people and nature thrive. Find out more about our work, past and present at wwf.org.uk
TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network, is the leading non-governmental organization working globally on trade in wild animals and plants in the context of both biodiversity conservation and sustainable development. TRAFFIC works closely with its founding organizations, IUCN and WWF, making a critical contribution to the achievement of their conservation goals.
Founded in 1969, IFAW rescues and protects animals around the world. With projects in more than 40 countries, IFAW rescues individual animals, works to prevent cruelty to animals, and advocates for the protection of wildlife and habitats. For more information, visit www.ifaw.org. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.