‘The World’s Largest Market’, open 24 hours a day, seven days a week The Internet has become the preferred venue for the unlimited global wildlife trade, with experts calling for increased oversight of online trading platforms.
This is advocated by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and NGOs in particular in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) which has been held in Panama since November 14 and is scheduled to end on Friday.
At the end of this meeting, which is crucial for protecting biodiversity, trade in many additional species should be banned or severely restricted. According to Interpol, wildlife trafficking is growing by 5-7% annually.
But we have to “go further” by forcing “platforms to withdraw their content” and “impose severe penalties”, recommends Lionel Hashimine, project manager at the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), which AFP has joined with.
Between 2016 and 2021, follow the classifieds of illegal animal species in France, posted on public e-commerce websites but also via private groups on social networks such as Facebook, WhatsApp or Signal. The result: more than 1,800 ads were counted offering spotted felines, Hermann’s turtles or even colorful parrots for sale.
The IFAW, in conjunction with the WWF and Traffic, created the Coalition Against Online Wildlife Trafficking that aims to help e-commerce companies “devise policy that protects their users and businesses, while impeding wildlife trafficking.” “Wild Species”.
To that end, the NGO helped French classifieds site Leboncoin enforce its regulations by banning the sale of ivory items and gray parrots from Gabon.
– France pivot –
Gabonese gray parrots, frogs and boas, but also ivory, pangolin scales and bushmeat: every year, tens of thousands of kilograms of wild species illegally enter and leave France, fueling a global traffic that Interpol estimates is several billion dollars annually.
France, with its twelve overseas territories located in five biodiversity “hot spots”, is a hub for wildlife trafficking. This trafficking is the “third most lucrative transnational organized crime activity in the world,” according to the Intergovernmental Scientific Platform on Biodiversity (IPBES), and it contributes to the disappearance of wild species.
In 2021 alone, “36 tons of illegal wildlife products were seized at Terminal 2 at Roissy-Charles de Gaulle Airport,” where flights from Africa arrived, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, including about ten tons of bushmeat ( Pangolins, primates, bats, agoutis…).
But France is also an “exporting” country. A good example is the widespread poaching of the glass eel, the larvae of the eel, whose export outside the European Union has been banned since 2009. This endangered migratory fish is caught on the Atlantic coast and then exported to Asia, mainly to China and Thailand .
In 2021, a network of smugglers is dismantled in France, suspected of exporting more than 46 tons of glass eel and laundering €18.5 million in the process.
The goldfinch, appreciated for its melodious song and whose French population has declined by 50% in twenty years, is also an object of smuggling that carries it to the Maghreb as well as to Belgium.
The fight against trafficking in wild animals is being strengthened in France, in particular with the “Law of 30 November 2021 aimed at combating animal abuse” that prohibits the shipment by mail of vertebrate animals and prohibits the online sale of animals by non-professionals.
However, this fight faces two major obstacles: on the one hand, the lack of means allocated to the fighting organizations, and on the other hand, the incomplete training of the judges.
recommends Sebastien Mabille, attorney and vice chair of the French Committee at the IUCN.