A new report from a href=”http://www.ifaw.org/”>International Fund for Animal Welfare reports finding more than 4,000 elephant ivory listings on the popular auction site eBay—and more than 7,000 wildlife product listins on over 180 Web sites in 11 countries. As a result, eBay has agreed to ban the sale of all ivory products beginning January 1, 2009.
“We feel this is the best way to protect the endangered and protected species from which a significant portion of ivory products are derived,” the company wrote in its blog.
The IFAW report, “Killing with Keystrokes” (PDF) is available today. It finds that over 70 percent of all endangered species products listed for sale on the Internet occur in the United States, and the volume of trade in endangered species products in the U.S. was over 10 times the trade tracked in the U.K. and China, the next two leading countries. The dominant product was elephant ivory, which accounted for 73 percent of all the tracked listings. In one case, a purchaser bought a pair of elephant tusks on ebay for over $21,000.
The overall trade in illegal wildlife products is estimated to account for billions of dollars every year worldwide, putting it on a level with the black markets for drugs and weapons. The trade helps fuel the poaching and slaughter of more than 20,000 elephants every year in Africa and Asia.
“IFAW congratulates eBay on this very important step to protect elephants,” said IFAQ campaigns manager Barbara Cartwright. “With these findings and eBay’s leadership, there is no doubt left that all Internet dealers need to take responsibility for their impact on endangered species by enacting and enforcing a ban on all online wildlife trade.”
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