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Coalition to End Wildlife Trafficking Online

African elephants stand in tall grass

The world’s most endangered species are under threat from an unsuspecting source—the Internet.

Advances in technology and connectivity across the world, combined with rising buying power and demand for illegal wildlife products, have increased the ease of exchange from poacher to consumer. As a result, an unregulated online market allows criminals to sell illegally obtained wildlife products across the globe. Purchasing elephant ivory, tiger cubs, and pangolin scales is as easy as click, pay, ship.

Fortunately, the world’s biggest e-commerce, technology, and social media companies have joined forces to shut down online marketplaces for wildlife traffickers. The Coalition to End Wildlife Trafficking Online brings together companies from across the world in partnership with wildlife experts at WWF, TRAFFIC the wildlife trade monitoring network, and the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) for an industry-wide approach to reduce wildlife trafficking online by 80% by 2020.

Our Partners

Shutting down global online illegal wildlife trade requires an integrated, international solution. WWF and partners are collaborating with companies across continents, such as eBay, Google, Microsoft and Tencent, to unite the industry and maximize impact for reducing wildlife trafficking online.  

The Coalition is convening dialogues between partners to share lessons learned and best practices. As wildlife experts, WWF, TRAFFIC and IFAW also provide companies with updated global and regional trade trend data, training materials, policy guidance and educational information for users to help spot illegal products.

Full list of companies involved

Timeline of the coalition

How to get involved

For individuals

  • Learn more about species that shouldn’t be traded through our Wildlife-Friendly Online Trade Policy to make sure you aren’t unknowingly purchasing a protected species product.
  • Interested in helping WWF and partners keep endangered wildlife products offline? Contact us at endwildlifetraffickingonline@wwfus.org. If you’re already a WWF member, apply to be a Coalition Cyber Spotter through our Panda Ambassador program to get trained to detect and report illegal wildlife products on partner platforms.

For companies

Is your company ready to join the others and our partners in the fight against wildlife cybercrime?

  • Step 1: Contact the team at endwildlifetraffickingonline@wwfus.org to join the Coalition to End Wildlife Trafficking Online publicly and strive to follow its principles.
  • Step 2: Work with wildlife experts to develop an action plan with metrics to address specific wildlife trafficking threats on your platform to deliver on the 2020 goal.
  • Step 3: Deploy activities to meet the 2020 goal, such as ensuring that clear, comprehensive and enforceable wildlife trade policies are in place; enhancing staff ability to detect illegal wildlife products; collaborating with the academic community and other companies to advance machine learning for endangered species content identification; and rolling out a user awareness campaign and citizen monitoring program to mobilize the public to do their part to stop wildlife trafficking online.
  • Step 4: Participate in regional quarterly coalition meetings (remote/in-person), share learning and best practices with Coalition members, and consider long-term options for sustained reduction in wildlife trafficking online.

 

Wildlife parts and products

Elephants

More than 20,000 African elephants are killed each year in order to meet demand for ivory trinkets and ornamental objects.

Before: © Martin Harvey / WWF + After: © WWF-US

Rhinos

Three rhinos are killed each day in South Africa alone for their horns for tonics and aphrodisiacs and carved ornamental cups such as this cup.

Before: © Martin Harvey / WWF + After: © WWF-US

Pangolins

One million pangolins have been trafficked in the last ten years. Their products found online include scales for medicinal purposes and leather products like these boots.

Before: © XL Catlin Seaview Survey + After: © WWF-US

Marine Turtles

Marine turtles are trafficked online for products made from their shells such as hair combs and leather products such as boots.

Before: © Antonio Busiello/WWF-US + After: © Meg Gawler/WWF

Tigers

Tigers are trafficked as live cubs, furs, claws and teeth (as amulets) and bones used in traditional medicines.

Before: © Tiger Walking Credit: Dipankar Ghose / WWF-India + After: © Ola Jennersten/WWF-Sweden

timeline

2012

  1. WWF and Google spark conversation on a global coalition to stop the trade of endangered species online

2016

  1. Google hosts workshop for 10 global tech companies to discuss formal collaboration on stopping illegal wildlife trade online.

  2. WWF, TRAFFIC, and IFAW convene leading experts to develop a wildlife-friendly online policy, offering a standardized framework for tech companies to adopt and to work towards building a unified front to stop illegal wildlife trade on their platforms and across the internet.

  3. Microsoft Bing adopts wildlife-friendly online policy help stop the sale of live animals and endangered and threatened animal products worldwide.

  4. Etsy adopts comprehensive animal product policy, prohibiting the sales of all CITES Appendix I and US Endangered Species Act species products.

  5. Ruby Lane bans all ivory from platform, and requires sellers to have appropriate state and federal certificates to trade in any and all CITES Appendix I species.

2017

  1. WWF, TRAFFIC and IFAW provide training for eBay’s enforcement team on how to detect illegal wildlife products on the platform.

  2. eBay blocks / removes 45,000 listings from platform that violates wildlife policies.

  3. Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent announce formal alliance to combat wildlife trafficking online.

  4. Instagram prohibits sale of endangered animals and parts and launches content advisory interstitial for users searching hashtags associated with the illegal trade of wildlife.

  5. eBay, Etsy, Google, Pinterest, Microsoft participate in Coalition Wildlife Cyber Spotter Program.

2018

  1. Twenty-one companies with operations in Africa, Asia, Europe, and North America join Google in officially launching the Coalition to End Wildlife Trafficking Online.

  2. Microsoft hosts “Detect & Prevent: AI Workshop to End Wildlife Trafficking Online,” convening Coalition companies, academia and NGOs to discuss opportunities to advance automation to identify illegal wildlife trade online.

  3. eBay, Rakuten and Google convene cyber-crime panel at the Illegal Wildlife Trade London conference, with Microsoft as keynote speaker, bringing international attention to the importance of cross-sector partnerships in ending wildlife trafficking online.

  4. eBay publicly announces blocking 100,000 illegal or suspicious wildlife listings from 2017 – 2018.

  5. Facebook and Instagram participate in Coalition Wildlife Cyber Spotter Program

2019

  1. WWF, TRAFFIC and IFAW provide training for eBay’s enforcement team on how to detect illegal wildlife products on the platform.

  2. OfferUp adopts Coalition’s Wildlife-Friendly Online Policy, and educates users on how to spot suspicious sellers online.

  3. Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent announce formal alliance to combat wildlife trafficking online.

  4. Coalition celebrates one-year anniversary in Beijing; Etsy hosts US partners in New York City, welcoming eight new tech companies to join the Coalition.

  5. letgo and OfferUp participate in Coalition Wildlife Cyber Spotter Program, and refine automated wildlife sale detection algorithms based on results of the program.

  6. Facebook announces new wildlife policy, banning all sale of live animals in non-verified e-commerce channels, and the sale of all endangered species and endangered species products across the platform. Facebook also introduces new reporting workflow for live animals.