Wildlife crime bureau ties up with OLX to deter online trade of animal parts

The wildlife crime investigation agency issued ads on the website and mobile platform to discourage users from posting illegal wildlife items and also deter buyers.

environment Updated: Oct 03, 2017 14:21 IST
Malavika Vyawahare
Malavika Vyawahare
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Wildlife Crime Control Bureau,Wildlife Week,OLX
Dried monitor lizard genitalia like these are sold online as plant root regarded as a good luck charm and are also used in religious rituals. (AP/Representative Photo)

The Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB) has tied up with online marketplace OLX for an awareness campaign against trade of wildlife parts. The campaign is part of the WCCB’s exercise to mark Wildlife Week which began Monday.

Banners created by WCCB raise awareness about the illegal items that sometimes pop up on the OLX India website with the aim of deterring users.

“Protect Wildlife, they are nature’s treasure. WCCB and OLX are committed to prevent wildlife crime,” the ads say, and include a link to learn more about the initiative. WCCB did not pay for the ads.

The move is in response to the growing use of online platforms including major players like OLX, Amazon, Flipkart and lesser known classified pages to trade in illegal wildlife parts. They are usually advertised under code names.

Read more:Wildlife smuggling continues in frontier areas

The enforcement agency launched Operation Wildnet this year to tackle this particular aspect of the trade and made some breakthroughs when they tracked down sellers of monitor lizard penises, which is illegal because the lizards are protected species under India’s Wildlife Protection Act.

“Sometimes, youngsters who are not aware that an animal is endangered unknowingly post them for sale too,” Tilottama Verma, who heads the WCCB, told HT.

There are almost 2 lakh visitors per hour to OLX’s mobile app and their website. The ads target prospective sellers, buyers and the general public. “The idea is to demoralise people who are posting these ads and to let them know we are scrutinising the online space too,” said R.S. Sharath, an officer at WCCB.

First Published: Oct 03, 2017 14:21 IST