New wildlife traders rise in Facebook hubs
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In the Philippines, transactions involving endangered and threatened species do not even have to lurk in the underbelly of the internet: On Facebook, where 65 million Filipinos are active users, the illegal trade in wildlife is rampant and fairly blatant — and, if lax regulations continue, poised to get worse. Despite this clear policy, the buying and selling of live animals, including endangered and endemic species, remain rampant across Facebook groups in the country, based on monitoring by government agencies such as the DENR and concerned groups such as Traffic, an international wildlife trade monitoring network. According to a study published by Traffic in 2018, over 1,000 Filipino traders posted some 2,200 ads in at least 90 Facebook groups, in which over 5,000 different kinds of reptiles were traded within a three-month period in 2016. The report said various species were sold, including venomous snakes, tortoises and sailfin lizards, many of which were poached for sale in the pet trade—a major threat for Philippine reptiles. Philippine pond turtles and a lone Philippine crocodile were also offered online, even as both species are classified as critically endangered, only a step away from extinction in the wild.
Enano, J. O. (2019, August 20). New wildlife traders rise in Facebook hubs. Philippine Daily Inquirer, pp. A1, A6.