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IFAW urges eBay to stop traders selling illegal ivory through the site

2014 Feb 11th 09:43 AM

eBay stopped all ivory sales on the site adhering to an investigation by the International Fund for Animal Welfare where it was revealed that 2,275 elephant ivory items were sold in a single week in 2007. Ivory pieces can now only be sold legally if they were made before 1947 but traders must obtain certificates to prove the origin and pre-1947 ivory becomes illegal if it has been re-worked.

In spite of this it seems that some eBay traders are finding a way around this rule by describing their products as ox bone or faux ivory when it is in fact real ivory.

Detective Inspector Nevin Hunter, the head of the National Wildlife Crime Unit, stated that: “The vast majority of ivory on eBay is legal to sell. The ban on eBay means people are selling it in other ways, which in fact does not help us.

“People are effectively committing fraud and this is criminalising a large number. We need eBay to make sure that sellers comply with the law.” The call for action comes days before a major conference in London on the illegal wildlife trade, to be attended by heads of state, the Prince of Wales and Prince William.

Tania McCrea-Steele, IFAW’s campaigns manager, said: “We are concerned that some people have been blatantly trying to get round the eBay ban by disguising their items. We are pleased to see the police have taken a proactive approach.

“It may be that there are people who do not understand the consequences, or who do not understand the law so we are talking to eBay about ways in which they can improve consumer awareness on their website. One idea is pop-ups on their site to make people aware of the legislation.

“We see a lot of people trading in wildlife products and we want to make sure they understand.”

Charities are insisting that eBay incorporate pop up legal alerts on the auction site to discourage traders to break the rule and remind them to abide by the law when selling on the site. IFAW say that the trading of ivory on the internet is fuelling the illegal poaching of elephants in Africa.

An eBay spokesman said: “eBay works closely with conservation groups, many of whom recognise the significant steps we take to stop the sale of ivory products. We proactively enforce our policy and quickly take action to remove listings of items of concern. We are also committed to educating sellers of our site guidelines.”

Monitoring the trading of ivory on eBay is tricky for the company as although they have in forced the rule it is very easy for sellers to describe their items as faux ivory or ox bone and manage to sell real ivory without been found out. As of course it is only them and the buyer that will actually see the product. Perhaps with more information on the regulations of selling ivory and stricter listing rules for animal products there will be less illegal traders slipping through the loopholes on the site.




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