For Sale: Siberian Tiger, 2 years-old, $70,000.
The Internet has become one of the forces driving the extinction of endangered species. A report released by The International Fund for Animal Welfare has found that the Internet trade in endangered species is flourishing and poses a significant threat to many species.
Bloomberg Traders are using the Internet to sell thousands of products from endangered wildlife species, including live animals, ivory, tortoiseshell and stuffed creatures, the International Fund for Animal Welfare said.
The trade in products made from some of the world's most endangered species, and in the animals themselves, has ``devastating implications for both wildlife conservation and animal welfare,'' yet not all sellers may be aware their activities are illegal, the group based in Yarmouth Port, Massachusetts, said today in a report on its Web site.
I was surprised to find that not only are live reptiles and birds, and animal parts for sale, but you can also buy Gorillas and Tigers online.
Items for sale online have included a 7-year-old gorilla in London at 4,500 pounds ($8,129), a 2-year-old Siberian tiger on a U.S. site with a $70,000 price tag, serval cats and Amazonian parrots, IFAW said. An ``intensive'' one-week Web search by the group in January found more than 9,000 products, specimens and live creatures for sale, mainly from protected species.
Part of the reason for this Internet trade is that laws that govern the trade of endangered species are inadequate for dealing with Internet commerce. CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) is the treaty that governs the international trade of endangered species. The CITES UNEP program provides a wealth of resources to help identify and deal with the trade of endangered species, but the existence of this information is not widely know, or distributed by cosigning countries.
``The current legal framework and enforcement efforts are inadequate to deal with this appalling situation and protect the species and individual animals involved,'' the IFAW said in the report. ``A more effective response is essential.''
The group recommended that governments act to regulate the trade in endangered species by banning the advertising of products related to those animals listed as the most endangered. Nations should also provide easily accessible information on the rules governing the wildlife trade, according to the report.
To find out more about Internet trade in Endangered Species and what you can do about it, download IFAW's report: Caught in the Web: Wildlife Trade on the Internet.