eBay Inc (EBAY) Joins Yahoo and Etsy to End Wildlife Trafficking

eBay Inc has joined hands with Yahoo and Etsy. The aim here is to fight illegal online wildlife trafficking. Yahoo is almost synonymous with eBay as an old player in the web. While Etsy is not so old, it is fast becoming a go-to destination for handicrafts and other hand-made items. Some of these are made from materials that come from animals. At first glance, one would wonder why eBay is joining hands with Etsy. This is because though Etsy is a niche-specific player, it is still a rival at the end of the day. However, a closer look reveals the reasons behind the alliance.
eBay (EBAY)

eBay Inc Goes Out to Address a Long-time Sore Spot

Friday happened to be ‘world elephant day’. The 3 tech firms mentioned above played key roles in the same. Their aim is to bring to a halt illegal online wildlife trafficking. They have taken the vow to do anything in their power to discourage or prevent wildlife cyber criminals. Some of the actions that they will take include closing the loopholes that allow such acts. They will also bring down any online posts that endanger wildlife.

Some reports say that this problem has been going on for the last three years. Estimates indicate that each 15 minutes, poachers kill at least one elephant for the sake of illegal trade in ivory trinkets. Poachers have killed about 100,000 elephants over this three-year period. What is more, tigers, rhinos, and pangolins are also at risk of poaching. As a result, active help from firms in enforcing policies will help in protecting some of the world’s most endangered species.

As far as e-commerce players go, the problem isn’t plaguing just eBay Inc or Etsy alone. Fierce rival Amazon too ended up on the wrong side of the law for allowing such transactions to take place between buyers and sellers. In fact, we already read about one such claim made by the Indian government. That one called on Alibaba as well. This is quite a serious issue because it indicates the magnitude of spread of the problem. Amazon is a full-scale platform having its own processes and resources for products and shipping. On the other hand, eBay is mainly a hub that connects buyers to sellers for retail trade, whereas Alibaba is mainly for wholesale trade. But the poachers are present on all of them.

Fighting for a Cause

A voluntary group of firms and non-profits will fight the illegal trade. Tania McCrea-Steele is the global wildlife cybercrime project lead for the International Fund for Animal Welfare. She stresses that all must agree to play an active role in protecting the future of these creatures. US Wildlife Trafficking Alliance (USWTA) has already joined in drumming up support for the same. Thus, the non-profits are very optimistic about the coalition of the tech firms. They see this as just the start of success in fighting the illegal trade, which is worth about $10 bn a year.

As per senior VP of WWF Ginette Hemley, it is a very basic step to stop the internet from acting as a getaway for wildlife traffickers. A ban on the ivory sales is already in place since 2009 by eBay Inc . With the help of a united front by global firms, Crawford Allan, senior director – wildlife crime, TRAFFIC agrees that it is possible to shrink the potential market access for wildlife criminals.

In fact, the Indian government had listed more than a 100 such websites. Officials had held talks with some of these websites’ representatives even before eBay took part in the Stifel Technology Internet & Media Conference in June.

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