On Earth Day and Every Day, eBay is Working to End Wildlife Trafficking
By: Jennifer O’Connell and Chloe DeMars, eBay News Team
We want to ensure no-one uses our marketplace to profit from illegal trafficking of wildlife or animal parts.
Elephants are among the most intelligent and most empathetic animals on the planet. In a recent period of just three years, 100,000 of them – one fifth of the entire population in Africa – were slaughtered for their ivory.
Rhinos in Africa are being killed for their horns at a rate of over 1,000 per year. The population of African lions has close to halved in three decades, mostly due to human activity. One million pangolins – elusive, scaly mammals prized for their scales, skin and meat -- have vanished from the wild.
At eBay, we want to help protect the future of these magnificent creatures. We are working hard to ensure that no-one can use our marketplace to profit from the illegal trafficking of wildlife or animal parts.
Last month, we joined the US Wildlife Trafficking Alliance (USWTA), a voluntary coalition of corporations, non-profits and media interests who have pledged to work with the U.S. Government to combat an illegal trade worth an estimated $10 billion every year.
On Earth Day, we want you to know what we’re doing to stop it -- not just today, but every day.
Education, Enforcement, Co-operation
Ending the illegal trade in wildlife and animal parts is a team effort for eBay, involving the collective might of our Global Customer Experience agents; our Detections teams; our Corporate Communications groups; our Regulatory Policy team – and, of course, our buyers and sellers.
We work hard to educate our customers about what can, and cannot, be listed on our site. Our policy page outlines our position on the sale of illegal wildlife products – for instance, in 2008 we implemented a global ban on ivory sales – and includes more details about state, federal and international wildlife laws. And we actively and vigorously enforce our policies, removing listings and banning sellers of illegal items where appropriate.
This will go a long way in encouraging consumers to reject wildlife parts and products
Our policy team also partners with other non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and regulators around the globe – including the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW); the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS); and regulators in Germany, the U.K. and Australia.
Tania McCrea-Steele, Global Wildlife Crime Project Lead for the International Fund for Animal Welfare, said online wildlife crime poses a serious threat to endangered wildlife, including elephants, reptiles and birds.
“IFAW congratulates eBay for their efforts to protect endangered wildlife by working with organizations such as IFAW, police and customs to catch wildlife cybercriminals, banning the sale of goods made from ivory, and informing their customers about the poaching crisis and the laws against illegal wildlife trade. This will go a long way in encouraging consumers to reject wildlife and their parts and products which are threatened by illegal wildlife cybercrime, and helping to stop this devastating trade.”
Our Six Commitments
As part of our membership of USWTA, eBay made six specific commitments to further strengthen our anti-trafficking policies:
- Explore new ways to educate our community about what wildlife products are allowed and restricted
- Work with government agencies and industry groups to explore new means of detecting illegal wildlife sales online
- Work with USWTA to raise consumer awareness of the issues and reinforce wildlife friendly listing and purchase behavior
- Support an online charity auction on eBay to raise money for USWTA activities
- Work with USWTA to develop best practices for reducing the market for and purchase of illegal wildlife products
- Co-hosting an online forum with other major U.S. e-commerce sellers to share progress and discuss on-going issues
But we also recognize that, as long as the demand for these products exists, the illegal trade in wildlife parts will continue to find a way to flourish.
We Need Your Help
Despite our best efforts – and those of our partner organizations – we know that banned listings sometimes still make it onto our marketplace. Those seeking to profit from their trade are devious in their practices, changing the language in listings and using code words to make it more difficult for our teams to find and remove them.
With 800 million items for sale, we need our customers to play their part too. On Earth Day, and every day, we’re asking you to:
- Be a wildlife-friendly shopper
- Check our guidelines page to learn about what you can and cannot list or buy on eBay
- If you come across a suspicious listing, please report it immediately by clicking the Report Item link in the listing page
Stopping this trade is a global challenge that that we all work together – law enforcement, governments, NGOs, marketplaces like eBay, and people like you.
Because it only takes a moment to report a suspicious listing – but extinction is forever.
Adventure Travel Trade Association
Association of Zoos and Aquariums
Ben Bridge Jeweler
Hidden Treasure Tours
Tiffany & Company
All images copyright of Lori Duvall