Saving threatened habitats worldwide

Illegal trade of endangered species

8 March, 2012 - 13:06 -- John Burton

I noticed on eBay recently there was a lot of so-called ox bone on sale and strangely it was going for very high prices. It was also noticeable that much of it looked remarkably like ivory; then I found some actually described as ivory, but not in the main headings. Presumably this is to get round the various bans and controls that need licences under CITES, an inter-governmental body that aims to ensure that international trade in wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival.

Clearly most of the 5,000 plus items listed the day I searched for “ox bone” were ivory and one was almost certainly a sperm whale tooth and that was reflected in the price of over £1,200.

The trade in dead birds is also flourishing. Search eBay for “taxidermy rare bird” and see what pops up. There are dozens of birds being sold in Italy and Hungary, and I doubt they all comply with EU Regulations. All over the Mediterranean region migrant birds are being massacred; Cyprus, Lebanon and Malta are infamous, but in Italy and France it is often almost as bad.

This is all despite theoretical protection. Even in Britain the trade continues; I once found a very rare endangered and protected bird of prey being sold on eBay for £550 from an address in England.

Although these are very serious conservation issues and of great concern to me personally, they are really outside the mission of the World Land Trust (WLT) and we simply do not have the time, resources, or the staff to campaign on this issue.

Are there any cyber enthusiasts that want to start a social networking campaign and turn this into a viral issue? If so keep me posted; we will also help publicise it and feel free to copy and paste this message:

“John Burton, CEO of the World Land Trust, calls upon eBay to stop all trading in ivory, and to prevent it being described as ox bone or any other similar product, until such time as adequate controls on the illegal trade in ivory can be put in place.”

Of course, you can also help WLT tackle the illegal pet trade of Endangered Yellow-shouldered Parrot on a Caribbean Island off the north coast of Venezuela by supporting our new Margarita Island’s Parrot Appeal.

Although WLT is focused specifically on buying land for conservation – we are not a campaign organisation - the illegal collection of chicks for the pet trade is threatening their survival on Margarita Island where we have been supporting conservation projects since 2008.

We need to raise £10,000 between March and August to protect this seasons parrot chicks and help ensure their continued survival. Read more about the Margarita Island’s Parrot Appeal.

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