EBay, Pinterest, Etsy vow to prevent illegal wildlife trading on services

Looking to buy an elephant tusk on eBay? Might not be so easy.

The e-commerce giant, along with Etsy, Gumtree, Microsoft, Pinterest, Tencent and Yahoo, has signed on to a new commitment to prevent the sale of illegal wildlife products on their services.

The initiative is in collaboration with the World Wildlife Fund, the International Fund for Animal Welfare and TRAFFIC, and was announced Friday to coincide with World Elephant Day.

Under the new policy, companies are seeking to prohibit the sale of wild live animals and animal body parts that are sourced illegally, species that are threatened by extinction and other protected animals. That includes rhino horns, pangolin parts and turtle meat.

It’s the first time that conservation organizations have partnered with multiple tech companies. Prior, the WWF, for example, has worked with other organizations individually.

”It is tremendously encouraging to see that leading online marketplaces and social media platforms are fighting back against wildlife cybercriminals to stamp out the illegal sale of endangered wildlife from their sites,” Peter LaFontaine, campaigns manager for the International Fund for Animal Welfare, said in a statement.

Not every e-commerce company is listed as part of the initiative. Notable absences include Amazon and Facebook.

But that doesn’t mean Facebook is not taking its own steps to curb illegal trading on the network. A quick search on Facebook’s Shop section shows that “elephant tusk” is not searchable.

Facebook Groups, however, have previously served as marketplaces for selling protected animals, according to a report from TRAFFIC in March. These private groups have also been platforms for selling guns, despite Facebook’s effort to ban the practice.

“We are in dialogues with other companies too and some may be adopting the policy in future,” Crawford Allan, senior director of TRAFFIC, said “We encourage companies to do so and are ready to support them.”

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