Lion and Tigers and Bears. Oh my.

The internet has revolutionised shopping for books, DVDs and airline tickets, but it has also opened up great opportunities to deal in illegal wildlife which, according to the UN, is worth billions of pounds a year and now rivals the arms and drug trades in scale.

“Within one week we found over 9,000 wild animal products and specimens, and wild animals for sale, predominantly from species protected by law,” says the report for the International Fund for Animal Welfare (Ifaw). “More than 100 traders were identified, each advertising an unnamed, unspecified number of items,” said the authors of the report.
The range of live endangered animals for sale could have set up whole zoos, and the parts of dead animals found on the web would have stocked streets of Chinese pharmacies. “They included some of the world’s most endangered species,” the report says. “There were live Amazonian parrots, wild cats, a green turtle which the seller claimed was captured from a south-east Asian rainforest; even a live pet lion.” A total of 146 live primates were found in a week, some being advertised before they were even born. Commercial trade in any primate species is either prohibited or subject to strict controls.

(Guardian: “Tigers and gorillas – for sale on the internet,” by John Vidal [Aug 16, 2005])