The online trade in wild animals is booming: That's the conclusion of conservationists at the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) in a study published yesterday. Thousands of live animals or animal products were sold in online marketplaces in Germany, France, Britain and Russia. IFAW experts found 5,381 adverts involving 11,772 specimens from endangered species on 106 online portals. Their value was almost $4 million. Just under one fifth of all the detected adverts concerned the sale of ivory products. "With just a few clicks, you can buy ivory products, live tortoises, giant snakes or exotic parrots - at any time of day and without great risk," Robert Kless, who heads up IFAW Germany, said.
The international organization, founded in 1969 with offices in over 40 countries, is calling for tighter regulation to the online sale of wild animals. The global trade in ivory is a major contributor to the depleting population of elephants worldwide, IFAW said. "Online trade is hard to control and very few adverts contain verifiable information that proves the legality of the articles offered," Kless said.
In order to effectively curb this trade, laws must be tightened and website administrators should have strict standards for the sale and purchase of protected species in place, Kless added.