Facebook Wildlife Trafficking Report Spreads Around World 

Ambassador Robert Whitehead, U.S. Embassy Togo, inspects seized ivory (2014)

News outlets around the United States have picked up and expanded upon an Associated Press story about the whistleblower complaint to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) lodged against Facebook. The story has been published in news sources in Asia, Europe, and Latin America.

The proliferation of this important story is indicative of both Facebook’s global reach and the worldwide nature of illicit wildlife trafficking. Facebook is the popular social media company in the world, with 2.2 billion active monthly users in countries all around the world. Wildlife trafficking is equally widespread, and nations around the world confront this scourge. Individuals should know they can report wildlife trafficking to an American attorney or U.S. authorities even if they are citizens or residents of another country.

The impact of illegal trafficking, facilitated by Facebook, has been devastating. More than 100,000 elephants were killed in a three-year period; Central Africa has lost 64% of its elephants. Rhinoceroses have fared no better: in 2007, only thirteen rhinos were killed by poachers. The last five years have seen over 1000 rhinos killed each year. The last northern white male rhino died last month, meaning extinction of the subspecies is imminent.

NWC Executive Director Stephen M. Kohn has emphasized that “Facebook is not an innocent bystander to these crimes.” He added “we’re seeking the strongest possible legal enforcement to stop wildlife trafficking that is threatening the extinction of numerous species. Wildlife is a treasure that benefits all of humankind and no nation, or groups of criminals have the right to threaten beloved creatures treasured by all of humankind. Traffickers are stealing from our heritage, our culture, and all children.”

Read more about the complaint here.

Read some of the press coverage below:

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