The growth of the Internet increasingly facilitates communication and commerce between individuals and institutions at a global scale. The Internet has become a prime outlet to advertise and arrange sales, including of wildlife specimens, both legally and illegally.
In the light of the growing role of the Internet, it is important that Parties implement and strengthen measures at national level to effectively regulate legal trade in wildlife online, and to tackle wildlife crime linked to Internet. Domestic measures should constantly be evaluated to ensure that they are sufficient, remain effective and are quickly adapted to respond to any newly identified trends.
Wildlife crime linked to the Internet is defined in the CITES Glossary as: Crime involving any wildlife specimen, enabled or facilitated by the use of information and communication technology networks or any application in the digital world, including inter alia the public (clear) web, the dark web, online marketplaces, social network platforms, instant chat applications, peer to peer networks or email services.
Documents and Notifications
- CoP19 Doc. 37 on Wildlife crime linked to the internet.
- SC74 Doc. 33.4 on Wildlife crime linked to the internet: Report of the Secretariat
- CoP18 Doc. 33.1 on Combating wildlife cybercrime: Report of the Secretariat
- CoP18 Doc. 33.2 on Combating wildlife cybercrime: Report of the Standing Committee
- SC70 Doc. 30.3.1 on Combating wildlife cybercrime: Report of the working group
- SC70 Doc. 30.3.2 on Combating wildlife cybercrime: Report of the Secretariat
- SC69 Doc.31.3 on Combating wildlife cybercrime
- CoP17 Doc.29 on Combating wildlife cybercrime
- No. 2022/075 (issued 19/10/2022) on Wildlife crime linked to the Internet
Measures and activities implemented to address wildlife crime linked to the Internet
The information contained in the documents available through the links below has been compiled by the CITES Secretariat in accordance with the provisions of Decision 18.84, paragraph b), and represent a summary of the information received from Parties, the International Consortium on Combating Wildlife Crime (ICCWC) partner organizations and other relevant organizations and experts, up to August 2021.
Other materials and resources
- Assessing Online Wildlife Marketing - A Tool For Monitoring Illegality. (Global Initiative, 2021)
- European Union's Best Practices in Fighting Wildlife Crime Linked to the Internet (INTERPOL, 2021)
- Tackling the illegal trade in endangered plants in endangered plants (FloraGuard project report, 2020)
- EU Wildlife Cybercrime Project: Disrupting and dismantling wildlife cybercriminals and their networks in the European Union (2019-2021)
- Global Cybercrime Strategy 2016-2020 (INTERPOL).
- Framework of Standards on cross-border e-commerce and Resolution of the WCO Customs Co-operation Council (2018)
- Global Wildlife Cybercrime Action Plan: Call for Action (2018)
- Illegal wildlife trade in the Darknet (INTERPOL, 2017)
- E-commerce in the 365 CITES-listed medicinal plant species on Amazon and Ebay (full report; key findings) (CITES Secretariat, 2017)
- Global coalition to end wildlife trafficking online
- Tackling Illegal Content Online: towards an enhanced responsibility of online platforms (European Commission, 2017)
- Harmonized Policy for E-Commerce and Social Media Companies (IFAW, TRAFFIC, WWF, 2017)
Success stories and developments
- TRAFFIC applauds Philippine law enforcers as online trafficker of critically endangered Chinese giant salamander is convicted (June, 2023)
- India - Report on Wildlife Crime Control Bureau's "OPERATION WILDNET - IV" (2021)
- The black-market trade in wildlife has moved online, and the deluge is 'dizzying' (2020)
- India: Operation Wildnet-III Report (2020)
- How the internet became a major channel for illegal exotic pets and wildlife parts (2020)
- Going wild: Facebook culls illegal wildlife ads as trade grows (2020)
- Poshmark joins coalition to end wildlife trafficking online (2020)
- Spain and Portugal take illegal ivory off the black market (2020)
- CITES Secretary-General's remarks at the event to celebrate the second anniversary of the Coalition to End Wildlife Trafficking Online (2020)
- New EU initiative to counter surging wildlife cybercrime
- India: Operation Wildnet-II Report (2019)
- Chinese internet giants launch alliance to combat wildlife cybercrime (2017).