Monday, March 22, 2010

Is the Web the Greatest Threat to Endangered Species?

Spokespersons for wildlife conservation organizations say the Internet is the single biggest threat to endangered species, as traders take advantage of its world-wide range and anonymity to trade, buy, and sell endangered species. However, several proposals meant to curb such trade were defeated at the 175-nation-strong Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.

Conservationists say Web use has all but wiped-out the Kaiser's Spotted Newt and a ban on trading the Iranian salamander passed handily, but similar provisions hoping to curb the trade of red and pink coral, polar bears, and bluefin tuna failed. Changes to policies involving the ivory trade are set for delegation later this week.

Authorities say policing the trade is next to impossible and estimating the damage is just as difficult. Some say they have discovered trades of everything from living, baby lions to polar bear pelts on auction sites and in chatrooms. While China, Russia, Australia, and Europe are offenders, the United States is the worst.

© C Harris Lynn, 2010

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