The Government said on Monday that few prominent online websites were seen “advertising” the sale of rare animals and their parts on their platform.
Environment Minister Anil Madhav Dave, in his written reply to Rajya Sabha, furnished a list of 106 websites, which included prominent names like quikr.com, olx.in, alibaba.com, eBay.com, youtube.com, amazon.com, shopping.rediff.com, petsmart.com, snapdeal.com among others, collated by the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB).
Indian e-commerce giants say they have strict policies and guidelines in place for illegal sale on their websites and will take severe action if any seller is found guilty.
In a statement to Indiaretailing Bureau, Ebay said, “We have zero tolerance for wrongdoing and strict policies in place to stop the sale of products procured from endangered animals on the site. If any listing violation is found on the site, then not only is the listing removed, but the seller may also be subject to a range of other actions, including restrictions of their buying and selling privileges and suspension of their account.”
An Amazon India spokesperson told Indiaretailing Bureau that such products were no longer available on its portal and that the e-commerce behemoth has strict vigilance policies in place against any such activity.
“In May this year, we took down 296 items in the ‘animal specimen’ category and 104 items under the ‘snares or traps’ category, that were listed by third party sellers, after Wildlife SOS drew our attention to them,” the spokesperson said.
He added, “Such products are no longer available on Amazon.in and in addition, we have strictly enforced any attempts to inadvertently sell them. We have since engaged with the government and provided our utmost support to help monitor the situation. We have also provided information as and when required by various Government bodies and will continue to do so. We are committed as a company to prevent misuse of our platform by unscrupulous wildlife traffickers or sellers who violate the laws of the country.”
A spokesperson for Snapdeal told Indiaretailing Bureau, “We work closely with WCCB, which has provided an updated list of banned products in June 2016 to facilitate detection of any attempts by sellers to list such products on online marketplaces. We are fully committed to support the Environment Ministry in this endeavour.”
A meeting of representatives from online trade portals was convened on May 19 this year, to sensitise them on illegal wildlife trade. Meanwhile, the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau has stepped up activity to check this problem and has engaged Cyber Crime Specialists to carry out regular checks to detect any posts and offers to sell such items online.
Environment Minister Dave said, “Several steps have been taken to prevent such illegal activities which include utilising services of cyber crime specialists on contractual basis to carry out regular cyber patrolling to detect posts and offers on such portals.”
Dave said during training and sensitisation programmes conducted by WCCB, the issue of illegal online wildlife trade is being highlighted so that officials involved in the enforcement are abreast of such trends.