Facebook removes ads of illegal wildlife trade in Southeast Asia
January 18, 2022
Asia

Facebook removes ads of illegal wildlife trade in Southeast Asia as online business surges

YANGON (MYANMAR) – Social media giant Facebook has taken down hundreds of ads related to illicit wildlife trade. This comes as part of a major crackdown on the trade which is thriving in Southeast Asia.

“Not too wild, not too-well behaved. If interested, call…” a seller wrote on an ad with the picture of a civet cat in a cage, giving the details of an account in Myanmar, which is a major source and transit point in wildlife trafficking.

Although Facebook has banned such sale on its platform, a report says that over the five months through May, researchers of WWF have tracked 2,143 wild animals spanning 94 species for sale on Facebook from Myanmar alone.

As much as 92% of posts offered live animals, including birds of prey, for sale. The other animals include gibbons, langurs, wild cats and hornbills, which are in high demand.

More than 500 posts, accounts, and groups were taken down in April and July after wildlife activists alerted Facebook.

“We are committed to working with law enforcement authorities around the world to help tackle the illegal trade of wildlife,” a Facebook spokesperson said.

According to wildlife activists, the advent of zoonotic diseases like coronavirus has not diminished the demand for wild animals.

Southeast Asia is a major hub of wildlife trafficking involving billions of dollars and sellers make use of social media platforms to strike deals because of its huge reach and private chat options.

“It’s increasing in every country,” said Jedsada Taweekan, a regional program manager for WWF.

(Photos syndicated via Reuters)
This story has been edited by BH staff and is published from a syndicated field

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