Coalition to End Wildlife Trafficking Online

Coalition to End Wildlife Trafficking Online
Published: 25 March 2021
Last edited: 25 March 2021
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Summary

Advances in technology and connectivity – combined with rising power and demand for illegal wildlife products – have increased the ease of exchange from poacher to consumer across continents. This has created largely unregulated online markets for criminals to sell illegally obtained wildlife and their products. Products derived from species like elephants, pangolins, and marine turtle, as well as live tiger cubs, reptiles, primates and birds for the exotic pet trade, are readily available for purchase online. The Coalition to End Wildlife Trafficking Online brings together e-commerce, search, and social media companies across the world in partnership with WWF, TRAFFIC and IFAW to help keep endangered species offline and in the wild. The Coalition works with companies to strengthen prohibited wildlife policies, provide staff training to detect prohibited wildlife content, educate users about the issue and how to report suspicious listings, enhance automated detection, and share learning across platforms.

Classifications

Region
East Asia
East and South Africa
North America
South Asia
West and South Europe
Scale of implementation
Global
Ecosystem
Area-wide development
Urban ecosystem and build environment
Theme
Legal & policy frameworks
Outreach & communications
Poaching and environmental crime
Challenges
Lack of public and decision maker’s awareness
Sustainable development goals
SDG 15 – Life on land
SDG 17 – Partnerships for the goals
Business engagement approach
Direct engagement with a company
Indirect through consumers

Location

United States | China, Europe, Southeast Asia, and Africa

Impacts

The Coalition launched on March 7, 2018 with 21 companies and as of December 2020, there are now 38 companies. From its inception, the Coalition grew the visibility of the issue of wildlife trafficking online and role of the private sector in combatting it through key global fora including the London Conference on Illegal Wildlife Trade (2018), INTERPOL/ IFAW Cyber-Enabled Wildlife Crime Workshop (2018), CITES Conference of the Parties 18 (2019), INTERPOL Wildlife Crime Working Group (2019), First High Level Conference on Illegal Wildlife Trade in the Americas (2019), Crime Stoppers International Conference (2019) and INTERPOL’s Debriefing on Operation Thunderball against Wildlife Smuggling. These events focused on catalyzing important policy changes and encouraging multi-sector collaboration with NGOs, policy makers and law enforcement.

 

In the Coalition’s latest progress report (dated March 2020), the Coalition companies reported removing or blocking over 3 million endangered species listings from their platforms. This resulted from strengthened wildlife policies, an increase in staff ability to detect illegal wildlife products, regular monitoring and data sharing from wildlife experts, reports sent in by volunteers through a Cyber Spotter program, enhanced algorithms resulting from key search word monitoring and collation as well as shared learning. 

 

Contributed by

Polen Cisneros International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW),