Home / Environment / Report Review Tools: Save | Print | E-mail | Most Read | Comment
Online trade threatens wildlife conservation
Adjust font size:

The growing trade in wildlife on the Internet in China means the battle to curb the illegal practice must be taken online, environmentalists said Thursday.

A recent six-week study by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) tracked 7,122 online auctions and advertisements involving the illegal trade in wild animals and found that the Internet is posing a major challenge to wildlife conservation, with China ranked third after the United States and the United Kingdom among 11 countries investigated with respect to volume of illegal trade.

Among the online auctions and ads, 544 took place in China.

More than half of the auctions and ads are posted on the Taobao.com website, the investigation said.

The prevalent wildlife trade violations identified in China during the investigation concerned elephant ivory, followed by reptiles, especially sea turtles.

The two accounted for nearly 90 percent of the total advertisements observed, according to the investigation.

"The online trade of wild animals is developing into an urgent problem, because the Internet provides a hidden stage for illegal traders," Meng Xianlin, deputy director of the Endangered Species Import and Export Management Office said Thursday.

Early in 2005, the State Forestry Administration (SFA), an agency tasked with implementing wildlife controls, said it will crack down on online trading of endangered species.

In order to crack down on online animal sales, the IFAW and Taobao.com jointly launched a month-long campaign Thursday.

Taobao.com will put a notice on its homepage to encourage people to inform it of the sale of wildlife.

People who report illegal activities can get IFAW gifts and wildlife conservation information.

"It is extremely satisfying to see the results of our investigation get the attention of society," Ge Rui, IFAW's Asia regional director, said.

"Money earned in the illegal international trade in wildlife is second only to the international trade in illegal drugs and arms. Humans' greed drives the trade," Feng Yonglin, an SFA official said Thursday.

This year, Taobao.com discovered 1,420 sales involving illegal trade in wild animals and blocked 263 members and stores online, Ni Liang, senior manager of Taobao said Thursday.

Investigators noted a large bowl made from rhinoceros horn that was among the most expensive listings discovered during the global investigation, offered at US$23,317 on the website, a polar bear skin for US$25,825 and a 12 cm tiger tooth for US$1,873 this year.

On Nov 15 last year, Suzhou customs cracked an international illegal trade of two complete Asian elephant tusks worth 500,000 yuan.

(China Daily November 21, 2008)

Tools: Save | Print | E-mail | Most Read
Pet Name

China Archives
Related >>
- Police battle drug inflow from Golden Crescent
- Online wild animal trade targeted
- 13 Jailed in Wild Animal Trade Case
- Smuggled ivory sculptures to be displayed in E China
- Police seizes wild owls smuggling in Yunnan
- Rare pet craze spurs smuggling
Most Viewed >>
- Pet cats turn out to be leopards
- Free bike rentals on offer in Beijing
- 40% of China's territory suffers from soil erosion
- 10 rare flowers and plants in the world
- Migratory birds facing famine in Dongting Lake
Air Quality 
Cities Major Pollutant Air Quality Level
Beijing particulate matter II
Shanghai particulate matter III1
Guangzhou particulate matter II
Chongqing particulate matter II
Xi'an particulate matter III1
NGO Events Calendar Tips
- Environmental English Training (EET) class
- Hand in hand to protect endangered animals and plants
- Changchun, Mini-marathon Aimed at Protecting Siberian Tiger
- Water Walk by Nature University
- Green Earth Documentary Salon
Sichuan Earthquake

An earthquake measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale jolted Sichuan Province at 2:28 PM on May 12.

Panda Facts
A record 28 panda cubs born via artificial insemination have survived in 2006.
South China Karst
Rich and unique karst landforms located in south China display exceptional natural beauty.
Saving the Tibetan Antelopes
The rare animals survive in the harsh natural environment of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau.
Laws & Regulations
- Forestry Law of the People's Republic of China
- Meteorology Law of the People's Republic of China
- Fire Control Law of the People's Republic of China
- Law on Protecting Against and Mitigating Earthquake Disasters
- Law of the People's Republic of China on Conserving Energy
State Environmental Protection Administration
Ministry of Water Resources
Ministry of Land and Resources
China Environmental Industry Network
Chengdu Giant Panda Research Base