How eBay and IFAW ban on African Ivory stood for a decade


Kimani Chege, The Exchange

Date Published

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It has been 10 years since eBay introduced a global ivory ban across its platforms to help protect elephants.

eBay’s ivory ban, combined with their Animal and Wildlife Products Policy and with support from the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and other NGOs, has seen well over 100,000 prohibited wildlife listings blocked or removed in 2017 and 2018 alone.

“We congratulate eBay on blocking or removing over 100,000 listings of prohibited wildlife products,” said Tania McCrea-Steele, International Project Manager for Wildlife Crime at IFAW.

“Partnering with eBay shows that we can have real and significant impact in detecting and deterring wildlife traffickers. Supporting companies in the fight against wildlife cybercrime means we can scale up our approach, reaching a vast number of wildlife traders and making them aware of the need to protect wildlife and the penalties that they will incur if they engage in trafficking.”

As one of the world’s largest online marketplaces, eBay continues to be a leader in the fight against illegal wildlife trade. Since becoming one of the first global platforms to ban online ivory sales in 2009, eBay has engaged with governments and encouraged them to adopt ivory bans.

The celebration of eBay’s 10-year anniversary comes at a time when there is growing momentum supporting a global ban on ivory trade, just a few weeks after the UK ivory ban was passed and the Dutch government announcement of a ban on raw ivory.

It is now more important than ever that the European Union and other nations across the globe follow suit to help protect elephants.

“eBay has long been committed to protecting the world’s most endangered and threatened species,” said eBay’s Head of Global Regulation, Wolfgang Weber.

“Our ivory ban 10 years ago was an important milestone in our company’s history, and we’re proud of the strides we’ve made since to prevent illegal wildlife trafficking on our marketplace in partnership with IFAW and various organisations.”

In March 2018, eBay also joined over 20 other online technology, e-commerce and social media companies in the Coalition to End Wildlife Trafficking Online, as convened by WWF, TRAFFIC and IFAW, pledging to work collectively with Coalition members to reduce wildlife trafficking across platforms by 80% by 2020.

The number of wildlife advertisements recorded on eBay in target countries has (with few exceptions) steeply dropped since IFAW’s 2014 report on wildlife cybercrime and follow-up research in 2018 – even while the total number of listings on eBay has increased enormously in the same time period.

IFAW’s Disrupt: Wildlife Cybercrime report in 2018 found very few ivory and suspected ivory items on eBay in France.

In addition, the UK has seen an apparent significant drop in sales of ivory on eBay since IFAW’s Wanted – Dead or Alive report four years earlier.

Apart from governments, online marketplaces and social media platforms taking important steps in helping to win the fight against wildlife cybercrime, consumers play a vital role too.

It is important that eBay customers support eBay’s efforts to protect elephants and endangered wildlife by not buying illegal wildlife products, and by reporting suspicious advertisements and posts. If you don’t buy, they don’t die.