Published 6th March 2019
TRAFFIC has been keeping a close watch on the trade and consumption trend of illegal wildlife, conducting monitoring on online trade on a regular basis.
Weihua Xin, Yu Xiao
In addition to the website platforms and social media that have been monitored in China in the past, this assessment expanded the 2017–2018 survey scope to online communities, APPs related to short video streams, second-hand trade, traditional Chinese handicraft trade, and websites focused on live reptiles.
The result showed that during the period of 2017–2018, the average number of new wildlife product advertisements every month on website platforms declined 73% compared to 2012–2016. On social media platforms, compared with 2017, 2018’s average number of daily advertisements declined by 25%, and average daily active users declined by 22%.
However, increasing numbers of advertisements of illegal wildlife products on social media and other online communities without any keywords or text were detected, favouring the use of icons and emojis — a development which could greatly increase the difficulty of market monitoring and law enforcement. The survey also showed that advertisements of illegal wildlife products are found in new emerging APPs. Some Chelonian species are thought to be traded through websites illegally.
The report’s findings showed the trends of online illegal wildlife trade, urging law enforcement agency to further strengthen supervision of Internet platforms and identify new channels for illegal wildlife trade
in average number of new wildlife product advertisements per month on website platforms
in average number of daily advertisements on social media compared with 2017
increased significantly, using icons and emojis to replace keywords
Sammi Li TRAFFIC, Senior Communications Officer, China
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