Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Online ivory trade worth millions, INTERPOL report reveals

Loopholes in legislation create opportunities for illicit ivory Internet sales

May 2013. An INTERPOL report to identify the drivers and scale of the illegal online trade in ivory has revealed hundreds of items worth approximately EUR 1.45 million for sale on Internet auction sites across nine European countries during a single two-week period.

4,500 KG ivory
During Project Web, supported by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), the details of 660 advertisements on 61 auction sites were analysed by specialist national agencies and departments and were estimated to represent a total volume of around 4,500 kg of ivory.

With few obligations on sellers to prove the legality of ivory, and previous IFAW investigations showing that ivory is the most widely traded wildlife product on the Internet, one of the report's key recommendations is the introduction of e-commerce specific legislation and strong collaboration with customs to further investigate and prevent the illegal online sale of ivory.

"Whether in the real or virtual world, the illegal ivory trade poses one of the biggest threats to elephants in the wild, and law enforcement efforts need to be both off- and online if we are to effectively tackle this crime," said David Higgins, Manager of INTERPOL's Environmental Crime Programme.

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