For use of the media
not an official document.
CITES meeting to discuss wildlife e-trade and cyber-crime
Ottawa/Geneva, 20 February 2009 – Following allegations
that criminals are using web-based auction sites to sell illegally
obtained wildlife products such as ivory and caviar, the Secretariat
of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species
of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and Environment Canada, are organizing
a workshop from 24 to 26 February in the Westin Bayshore Hotel,
In addition to examining the way in which wildlife and wildlife
products are advertised via the Internet, the workshop will consider
the wildlife-related cyber-crimes that take place via email and
the use of specialized ‘chat rooms’ where collectors
may arrange sales of protected species. These subjects are receiving
considerable attention in the media.
The Secretary-General of CITES, Mr Willem Wijnstekers, said,
“There are undoubtedly instances where websites and communication
services are being exploited by wildlife criminals. On the other
hand, we are very conscious that legal and sustainable wildlife
trade takes place too. It is imperative, therefore, that CITES
finds ways to better monitor wildlife e-commerce, whilst combating
illicit sales of wild animals or plants illegally obtained".
Over 60 experts from four continents will participate in the
workshop. Participants include national wildlife authorities from
20 countries, Customs and police officers, non-governmental organizations,
and a major Internet auction site company.
“The Government of Canada is committed to protecting endangered
species within its borders and internationally,” said Canadian
Minister of the Environment Jim Prentice. “Through the recent
hiring of 50 per cent more on-the-ground Enforcement Officers
we will do our part to monitor e-commerce and protect wild animals
and plants against illegal trade,” said Prentice.
The governments of France and the United Kingdom, and the European
Commission kindly provided the financial support for the workshop
taking place this week.
Note to journalists: A background document,
prepared by the CITES Secretariat to aid discussions at the workshop,
can be viewed at the following URL: http://www.cites.org/common/docs/misc/E-Internet%20trade.pdf
Representatives of the CITES Secretariat and Environment Canada
will be available to meet with the media at the Westin Bayshore
Hotel at 5pm on Thursday 26 February, at the conclusion of the
For more information, please contact Media Relations, Environment
Canada +011 +1 (819) 934-8008 or Juan-Carlos Vasquez, CITES media
officer, at +41-22-917-8156 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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