Wildlife group details growing illicit animal trade on Facebook

Wildlife group details growing illicit animal trade on Facebook

A wildlife trafficking watchdog found over 1,500 listings on Facebook selling animals in Thailand, in violation of the social media platform’s rules.

Some of the animals included endangered species that have been banned from trade in Thailand such as the helmeted hornbill and Siamese crocodile.

Traffic, a wildlife trade NGO, first conducted its study in 2016 and again in 2018. Two years ago, it found listings on 12 Facebook groups over one month, reports the BBC. This time, two of the groups were gone from Facebook.


But overall the illicit trade in animals on the platform is growing. The number of people in the groups with animal trade listings had doubled from 106,111 members in 2016 to 203,445 in 2018.

Thailand's laws did not bar the sale of around 47% of the listed species. Many of the species were still protected under international law though.

"Growing online wildlife trade will only pile further pressure on threatened non-native species that currently have no legal protection or regulation," Kanitha Krishnasamy, Traffic's acting regional director in southeast Asia, told the BBC.

Facebook told the outlet that such listings violate its community standards and that it would delete the material as soon it’s aware of it.

"Facebook does not allow the sale or trade of endangered species or their parts, and we remove this material as soon as we are aware of it,” a spokesperson told the BBC.

Traffic is set to publish its full findings later this week.