Chinese animal protection authorities have joined with
international organizations to target on-line trade involving wild
animals, government sources said on Wednesday.
Meng Xianlin, deputy director of the Endangered Species Import
and Export Management Office, which is associated with the State
Forestry Administration (SFA), said the office has acted upon
reports from international organs and launched a campaign against
illegal wild animal trade via the Internet.
Between February and December last year, staff of the
International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) discovered 1,973
incidents of wild animal and product trade online. This included
more than 30 kinds of endangered animals listed by the Convention
on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and
The items ranged from wild tiger bone wine, tiger whiskers,
rhino horns to live slow lorises, a furry primate mostly found in
Acting upon the reports, the office cooperated with public
security and forestry departments in Beijing, Shanghai and
Guangdong, where most of the trades information was uncovered, in
efforts against the trade. More than 80 percent of the information
was deleted, while several websites were closed and further
investigations were continuing, according to an IFAW statement.
Meng said details of the campaign have been forwarded to the
CITES secretariat, along with suggestions to mobilize all countries
to collaborate in cracking down on the online trade. "The Chinese
government will continue to work with international organs and
share their experience in animal protection," he added.
According to the website of the forestry department in the
eastern Zhejiang Province, a seminar was convened in January at the
provincial capital Hangzhou. It was attended by officials from the
SFA, the Ministry of Public Security and delegates from Taobao,
Tencent, Ebay, Alibaba, some of the top on-line auction sites.
"It's encouraging that the websites have professed their
willingness to increase their monitoring. But we still face great
challenges as trade via the Internet is more difficult to supervise
and at the same time, easier to reach potential buyers," said the
IFAW's Grace Gabriel.
When entering "tiger bone" on Ebay on Wednesday several search
results appeared offering wines made from the skeletal remains. A
bottle of such wine, which the seller claims was made from a
Siberian tiger found dead in 1992 on the Wusuli river in northeast
China, was on offer at 238 yuan (about US$33).
"We need the public to report the violations and to increase law
enforcement and supervision," Gabriel said.
(Xinhua News Agency February 14, 2008)