Illegal pet sales still running wild across Facebook
THIS is Lucy – a langur monkey. Alongside listings for second-hand furniture, clothing and old toys, she is for sale on Facebook.
Many other species can also be found, including pygmy marmosets, the world’s tiniest monkey, pictured in chains. You can buy lion and cheetah cubs or even rhino horn.
This thriving marketplace for the illegal wildlife trade encourages the trafficking of endangered species – found
“in a matter of clicks” from the search bar, research from campaign group Avaaz found.
Pangolin scales, from the planet’s most trafficked animal, and a critically endangered species, are also being sold on the site, with one post offering “contact me for information” via Whatsapp, with a mobile phone number.
On another eBay-style site, critically endangered species are also being traded openly, dooming them to miserable lives in substandard conditions.
The vile trafficking of exotic wildlife also includes tiger cubs, dolphins and African parrots.
In 2018, Facebook was among founders of the Coalition to End Wildlife Trafficking Online, which set an ambition to cut the illegal trade by 80% by 2020.
It said the company had introduced technology to find and remove such content but admitted “the people behind this awful activity are persistent and constantly evolving their tactics to try to evade those efforts”.
Weak legislation on the breeding and sale of captive wild animals has sparked this black market for pets, circus performers and foreign marine parks.
In the UK, there are nearly 5,000 dangerous wild animals kept as pets, including lions, tigers and cheetahs. More than 230 apes live in people’s homes as well as 14 wolves, a bear and an elephant. The animals are licensed under the Dangerous Wild Animals Act.
Illegal wildlife trafficking is not just driving species towards extinction, it is also thought to pose a risk to humans, who could potentially be infected by diseases from animals.
Never has there been a more appropriate time, not only to protect our health but also to protect wild animals vulnerable to this vile, dangerous trade.
Endangered species found in a matter of clicks from the search bar