Illegal Wildlife Trade Is Booming Under Ecommerce Portals Like Alibaba, Snapdeal, Amazon, Quikr, OLX: Govt
As of 2007, the illegal trade of rare animals and wildlife entities was a $10 billion market in India alone. And if Govt. reports are to be believed, then ecommerce portals are encouraging such illegal trade as the business is booming, with or without their knowledge.
In a reply to a question posted in Rajya Sabha, Environment Minister Anil Dave pointed the finger at leading ecommerce portals and classified sites such as Snapdeal, Amazon, Olx, Quikr, Alibaba, eBay etc and informed the House that advertisements in these websites regarding sale of rare animals is rampant, and strict ‘cyber-patrolling’ is required to check the practice, and choke out such illegal trade.
Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB) has collated a list of 106 such websites, and it was presented before the House. Besides the above mentioned websites, some other portals where sales of such endangered species is currently going on includes: Youtube, Rediff, PetSmart, Whereincity, Snakesvenom.com, Startortoise.uk.com and Salesspider.com and more.
As per the reply posted, the trade of illegal wildlife happens using some secret codes; and by the time police catches on, the codes are changed. Absence of sniffer dogs during parcel deliveries is another major obstacle.
On May 19th, Environmental Ministry and representatives of ecommerce portals had a secret meeting, where steps were discussed to curb this practice.
Ecommerce Portals Are Working With The Govt.
As per reports, ecommerce portals are aware of the illegal trade, and doing everything possible to stop it.
An Amazon representative said, “In May this year, Amazon India took down 296 items in the ‘animal specimen’ category and 104 items under the ‘snares or traps’ category that were listed by third party sellers, after Wildlife SOS drew our attention to them”
Quikr CEO has promised that “If we do come upon a fraudulent listing, we delete it and also block the user from accessing the site,”
Olx has also confirmed their resolution against illegal wildlife trade, as they said, “At OLX we take several steps to ensure that protected animals and birds are not put up for sale by the users. Sale of animals which are not allowed to be traded in accordance with the Indian Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 is specifically prohibited.”
Snapdeal has firmly assured that “We work closely with WCCB, which has provided an updated list of banned products in June 2016 to facilitate detection of any attempts by sellers to list such products on online marketplaces. We are fully committed to support the Environment Ministry in this endeavour “
eBay has assured that they have “has zero tolerance for wrongdoing and has strict policies in place to stop the sale of products from endangered animals on the site”.
As per another report, ecommerce portals retrieve details of the sellers of such illegal wildlife entities, and then pass on to the concerned Govt. officials for action against them.
As per the investigations of WCCB, endangered species such as seahorses and alligator heads, along with preserved snakes, butterflies, starfish, rare beetles besides hunting manuals and devices are openly sold on some online portals.