7 June 2018 | International Fund for Animal Welfare News Release
Following a recent report issued by IFAW, this global workshop brings together key stakeholders to identify and share best practices.
Cyber-enabled wildlife crime poses a significant threat to the survival of endangered and threatened species, security and good governance, as the internet is a vast virtual marketplace that provides new opportunities for wildlife traffickers to offer live animals and their body parts for sale. To counter this, IFAW and INTERPOL are co-hosting a groundbreaking global workshop on cyber-enabled wildlife crime on 5 and 6 June at the INTERPOL Secretariat in Lyon, France bringing together various sectors and stakeholders in the fight against wildlife trafficking.
Published two weeks before the workshop, IFAW’s latest research report Disrupt: Wildlife Cybercrime – Uncovering the scale of online wildlife trade highlights the need to ramp up cross-sector collaboration. Our research uncovered thousands of live endangered and threatened animals and animal products offered for sale online in France, Germany, Russia and the United Kingdom. Over a period of six weeks in 2017, IFAW’s team of experts and researchers identified 5,381 advertisements spread across 106 online marketplaces and four social media platforms, cataloguing 11,772 endangered and threatened specimens worth US $3,942,329 million.
The report reveals that our ongoing work in partnership with online technology companies proves effective, resulting in a significant decrease in wildlife trade over certain online marketplaces and social media platforms. We were also able to support enforcement efforts by sharing 190 information logs, concerning 327 advertisements and posts, with national enforcement agencies to conduct further investigation. At the same time, our research also shows that online trade in ivory or suspected ivory remains a persistent problem, and that 80% of specimens found were live animals. Reptiles were by far the most prevalent items offered for sale, while almost a quarter of the remaining specimens were birds, including endangered African grey parrots. Specimens from other mammals including cats, primates, bears and rhinos were also identified for sale.
There is a need for deterrence of criminal activities in online marketplaces and social media platforms, including wildlife trafficking. At the workshop, IFAW and INTERPOL are bringing together leading wildlife cybercrime experts, including enforcement, online technology companies, policy makers, NGOs, academics and CITES representatives to identify and share best practices in tackling cyber-enabled wildlife crime.
“INTERPOL’s commitment to tackle wildlife crime takes into consideration the evolving methods by transnational criminal organizations. Traffickers take advantage of the lack of control of the supply chain to conceal wildlife parts in trade transportation and shipment or benefit more and more from the use of the internet (both regular and darknet) to avoid the traditional law enforcement oversight. We are currently facing the convergence between two developing threats: wildlife trafficking and cyber-enabled crime.” Tim Morris, INTERPOL Executive Director of Police Services.
Environmental crime is one of the top 5 largest crime areas globally.(1) Transnational organized criminal groups exploit wildlife trafficking across the globe, threatening protected and endangered species, affecting vulnerable communities, undermining national economies and jeopardizing security, and the rule of law.
“We need increased coordination of efforts across public and private sectors to disrupt and dismantle wildlife cybercrime networks,” said Tania McCrea-Steele, IFAW’s Wildlife Crime International Project Manager. “This workshop offers up the perfect opportunity to identify best practices and build a network to defeat a network.”
INTERPOL is the world’s largest international police organization, with 192 member countries. Our role is to enable police around the world to work together to make the world a safer place. Our high-tech infrastructure of technical and operational support helps meet the growing challenges of fighting crime in the 21st century.
Founded in 1969, the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) is a global non-profit organisation that protects animals and the places they call home. With offices in 15 countries and projects in over 40, we rescue, rehabilitate and release animals into secure landscapes around the world. In collaboration with both governments and local communities, our experienced campaigners, legal and political experts, and internationally acclaimed scientists pioneer lasting solutions to some of the most pressing animal welfare and wildlife conservation issues of our time.
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