These Chinese ivory carvings are harder to sell online thanks to Chinese e-commerce giants’ adoption of IFAW-instigated zero tolerance policies. © IFAW/G. TieliuFor years, the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) has been at the forefront of fighting the blight of wildlife trade that flourishes on the Internet.

Nowhere is our work more important than in China, whose 618 million netizens have become savvy consumers in the burgeoning global electronic marketplace.

Sharing evidence through various reports—Caught in the Web (2005), Bidding for Extinction (2007), Killing with Keystrokes (2008), Bidding Against Survival (2014) and a soon-to-be-released global internet trade report—and actively working with private industries as well as law enforcement agencies around the world, IFAW has successfully instigated the numerous zero tolerance policies taken by e-commerce giants like Alibaba, eBay, and Alibaba’s subsidiary Chinese C2C website Taobao.

Read Grace’s response to a recent National Geographic opinion posting arguing for a legal ivory trade.

Most recently, at an IFAW-supported workshop with China’s inter-agency wildlife enforcement task force, nine of the largest e-commerce, social media and antique collectible companies including Alibaba, Tencent, Sina and reaffirmed their zero tolerance for illegal wildlife trade.

Collaborating with government and civil society, they pledged to continue their efforts to prohibit illegal trade of wildlife parts and products in online marketplaces.

Corporations have a responsibility to eliminate loopholes that can be exploited by criminals to trade in protected wildlife online, said Meng Xianlin, Director of China’s CITES Management Authority.

And our partners in this fight are taking that responsibility seriously.

“E-commerce companies in particular should shoulder more responsibility in addressing this global problem,” said Xu Yan, Senior Manager at Alibaba’s Information Security Division. “By making this pledge, we hope to mobilize more online companies to adopt a zero tolerance policy against wildlife crime.”

If we assist agencies to perform vigorous enforcement and root out illegal wildlife trade from these marketplaces, we will have not only achieved sustained reduction in online wildlife trade but stigmatized wildlife consumption among the public.

Trade is growing beyond traditional electronic commerce sites as criminals have shifted illegal trade to more secretive yet harder to control marketplaces, and we have expanded our online wildlife trade monitoring work to more private and social media platforms.

Government agencies participating in the workshop included the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, State Administration for Industry and Commerce and General Administration of Customs.

It was great to see the determination expressed by participants at this workshop to use technology to fight wildlife crime and stay ahead of the criminals, and we look forward to more collaborations in the months ahead on the heels of the new trade report’s release.


Visit our campaign page to learn more about IFAW’s efforts to protect endangered wildlife from commercial trade,

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Article source: IFAW

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