Biggest Threat to Endangered Species: the Internet

Online trading fuels demand for protected species
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 22, 2010 9:38 AM CDT
This modified screenshot shows an eBay auction for beads made from pink coral. The US and Sweden proposed regulating the trade of pink coral recently, but it was rejected by other nations.

(Newser) – The Internet has become one of the biggest threats to at-risk species, allowing hunters to offload everything from polar bear pelts to extremely rare Iranian salamanders with ease, conservationists told the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species in Qatar. Thousands of endangered species are regularly traded online through message boards, auction sites, and chatrooms, the BBC reports, with buyers enjoying both the anonymity it offers and the global network of potential buyers.

“The Internet is becoming the dominant factor overall in the global trade in protected species,” said one animal welfare representative. It’s almost impossible to gauge the exact size of the problem, but those trying to police illegal sales say the US is the biggest market, though Europe, China, Russia, and Australia all take part as well.

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