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eBay and Etsy Back Ban on the Trade of Illegal Wildlife Products

eBay, Etsy, and other companies are backing an initiative by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to try to stop the trade in illegal wildlife and their products, which it says has reached crisis proportions. Marketplace sellers should familiarize themselves with the list of restricted goods, which include bear claws and taxidermy specimens; feathers from certain birds such as falcons and eagles; scrimshaw; coral; and products derived from primates, including “hand ashtrays.”

“Demand for the rare and exotic has fueled an international poaching and trafficking surge that is threatening the survival of the world’s most iconic species and wild places,” according to the WWF. And, it says, technology has helped make the Internet become a “thriving platform for buyers and sellers to trade illegal wildlife products.”

The organization is calling for the adoption of a standardized, industry-wide policy framework on online wildlife trade. “This comprehensive policy simplifies shopping guidelines for consumers, helps educate users about product legality and eliminates the loopholes that make it easy for criminals to traffic wildlife online. Most importantly, by adhering to this framework, ecommerce and social media companies can help create a unified, global front to stop wildlife crime.”

The WWF is calling on other companies to adopt the framework as well, which can be found on the WorldWildLife.org website.

A report from the AimGroup.com last month shows the problem extends to online classifieds sites as well, pointing to a report in the Times of India that said wildlife traffickers often use code words to sell endangered animals.

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). She is a member of the Online News Association (Sep 2005 - present) and Investigative Reporters and Editors (Mar 2006 - present). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.