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More than 3 million listings for rare animals as well as their associated products on online platforms have been removed or blocked by online tech companies of a global coalition aiming to stop wildlife trafficking online as of Tuesday.
These listings included live tigers, reptiles, primates and birds for exotic pet trade, as well as products derived from species like elephants, pangolins and marine turtles.
Jointly convened by WWF, TRAFFIC and IFAW, the Coalition to End Wildlife Trafficking Online is comprised of 34 global tech companies including Alibaba, Baidu, eBay, Facebook, Google, Tencent, as well as Instagram.
The collision is born out of the global reach of Internet access and resulting shift of illegal wildlife trade transactions from physical to online markets.
These companies can help to shut down the cloud-based trade routes cybercriminals rely on for exploiting wildlife.
“Criminal networks are taking advantage of internet platforms at the expense of the rarest species nature has to offer,” said Crawford Allan, Senior Director for TRAFFIC at WWF. “The online companies in the Coalition now have the smarts and tools to fight back against wildlife trafficking online, and can help ease the burden on law enforcement.”
The Coalition’s progress has resulted from strengthened wildlife policies, regular monitoring and data sharing from wildlife experts, enhanced algorithms and shared learning.
Tania McCrea-Steele, International Project Manager, Wildlife Crime at IFAW said “the online technology companies are a core part of the solution as they are able to work at an unprecedented global scale and disrupt illegal wildlife trafficking.”
The Coalition companies also launched user engagement initiatives to promote wildlife conservation reaching millions of Internet users.
“The Coalition provides a platform for online technology companies to contribute to this solution together,” said Siyao, Security Expert at Alibaba. “We share our lessons learned from other Coalition members on how to prevent wildlife trafficking online by investing in innovative technology and engaging the public to join the fight for wildlife.”