JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, Oct. 4, 2016 – Cybercriminals are the latest losers at the CoP17 of CITES following the Decision to ratify a commitment by all 183 Parties to stamp out illegal online wildlife trade.

The Decision requires all Parties to take a raft of measures to ensure that cybercrime is stopped, bring together governments, enforcers and online tech companies, in a common mission to save wildlife.

The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) said it welcomed the Decision which, they believe, takes huge strides in the fight to disrupt the often murky and secretive world of wildlife cybercrime.

“We are delighted by this decision and want to particularly thank Kenya, which raised the issue at the CoP in Johannesburg. Wildlife cybercrime is a serious threat to endangered species as our extensive research has established. This decision will enable governments across the globe to take the strongest action to counter the scourge,” said Tania McCrea-Steele, Global Wildlife Cybercrime Project Lead for IFAW.

The Decision ratified in the final plenary session of CITES, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) held in Johannesburg, South Africa over the past two weeks, enables Government to do the following:

  • Establish and share best practises on enforcement actions, including working with INTERPOL to establish guidelines for investigations;
  • Empower governments to ensure they have the strongest possible legislation in place and encourage increased engagement between the Secretariat, governments and online marketplaces and social media platforms to tackle wildlife cybercrime;
  • Additionally it calls for the establishment of a workshop on wildlife cybercrime that includes both producer and consumer countries and those with large internet companies, non-governmental organisations with expertise, lawyers, and other relevant experts to take this issue forward to the next CoP.

“This decision will lead to a much more cohesive counter offensive against wildlife cybercriminals by enabling more effective enforcement and better engagement with the commercial sector, supported by stronger legislation to stamp out this form of criminality.” said McCrea-Steele.

The proposal on combating wildlife cybercrime was raised by Kenya, and was unanimously supported by all 183 member Parties to CITES.

Founded in 1969, IFAW rescues and protects animals around the world. With projects in more than 40 countries, IFAW rescues individual animals, works to prevent cruelty to animals, and advocates for the protection of wildlife and habitats. For more information, visit Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.