• Bruce Rich
  • Environmental Forum
  • May-June 2013
  • p. 20

According to the International Fund for Animal Welfare, the internet has already become the dominant factor in the illegal global trade in protected species.... The London-based Environmental Investigation Agency accused Google of fueling the demand for illegal ivory through thousands of ads directed to consumers in Asia....The burgeoning illegal wildlife trade is threatening not just elephants, but great apes, rhinos, exotic birds, tigers, other great cats, and polar bears. No species is too obscure, too rare, or too remote in an electronically connected world to be a new profit center as it is driven to extinction....Take Kaiser’s spotted newt, a colorful salamander found in only four streams in the Zagros mountains of southeastern Iran. Coveted by collectors who are willing to pay as much as $350 for a specimen, Neurergus kaiseri is the first species to have been driven to virtual extinction by the web. E-commerce on a dozen websites in the early 2000s drove its estimated population in the wild down by 80 percent.

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