How Craigslist Contributes to the Killing of Elephants
The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) have revealed a thriving ivory and wildlife trade on Craigslist. The organizations released today a joint report, Elephant vs. Mouse: An Investigation of the Ivory Trade on Craigslist.
The investigation yielded hundreds of ivory classified advertisements valued at millions of dollars, proving that the ivory trade is alive and well on Craigslist. They collected data from 28 geographic Craigslist sub-sites between March 16 and 20 and found many instances of ivory, elephant skin, and similar items being sold. Investigators tracked 522 postings offering 615 items with a combined list price of nearly $1.5 million. Extrapolated to a full year, this would yield more than 6,600 items on those sub-sites alone, with a list price of more than $15 million.
The report comes on the heels of horrifying news for African elephants. It is estimated that 96 elephants are gunned down every day by poachers in Africa—some 35,000 each year, according to IFAW and WCS. At current rates, Central Africa’s forest elephants will be extinct in ten years. The critically acclaimed series Earth Focus will air a new program, Illicit Ivory, on May 28 to investigate the insatiable demand for ivory and the web of organized crime syndicates, rebel groups, militias and insurgents.
“This important investigation shows that ivory markets are still open and prevalent in the U.S.,” said John Calvelli, WCS executive vice president for public affairs and director of the 96 Elephants campaign. “WCS and 96 Elephants are focused on stopping the killing, stopping the trafficking, and stopping the demand, and we are hopeful that this report will shed light on the need to close domestic ivory markets.”
Prior to releasing the report, IFAW and WCS urged Craigslist to prevent the sale of illegal ivory and wildlife products on their various sites. As a result of these conversations, Craigslist recently updated its policy to include a clear statement prohibiting the sale of “ivory; endangered, imperiled and/or protected species and any parts thereof.”
Photo credit: Shutterstock
“The situation on Craigslist shows just how rampant wildlife trade is on the Internet, especially when host sites don’t do enough to stop it,” said Peter LaFontaine, campaigns officer for IFAW. “eBay, Etsy and many other online marketplaces have willingly cooperated with law enforcement to reduce wildlife trafficking on their platforms. Craigslist’s decision to explicitly list ivory among the site’s prohibited items is a step in the right direction, but they must do more to actively enforce this policy and eliminate ivory sales from their site.”
IFAW and WCS have been investigating the online wildlife trade and spreading awareness campaigns about the illegal ivory trade for years. IFAW's highly successful report about eBay, featured in The New York Times, led eBay to announce that it would no longer allow the sale of ivory on its platform. In last year's report, Wanted Dead or Alive: Exposing the Online Wildlife Trade, IFAW showed that eBay’s ivory ban has been largely successful, although problems remain. WCS, for its part, convinced the popular PBS program Antiques Roadshow to stop appraising ivory tusks on the air and to educate viewers about the ivory trade.
This latest report is very timely as federal and state initiatives are underway to stop the illegal wildlife trade before we send elephants and other wildlife into extinction. IFAW, WCS, 96 Elephants and 195 partner organizations, are currently working on strengthening a proposed federal ban, while advocating for state ivory bans in California and other states. Last year, New York and New Jersey passed state bans that closed loopholes in the federal law.
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This week marks the official start of fall, but longer nights and colder days can make it harder to spend time outdoors. Luckily, there are several inspiring environmental films that can be streamed at home.
1. Kiss the Ground<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="ccc5f0c92a5603e68aec39e56b0db02a"><iframe lazy-loadable="true" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/K3-V1j-zMZw?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p><strong>Streaming On: Netflix</strong></p><p><strong>Premiere Date: Sept. 22</strong></p><p>Between <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/wildfires-california-washington-oregon-photos-2647585008.html" target="_self">wildfires devastating the U.S. West Coast</a> and <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/tropical-storm-beta-landfall-2647760268.html" target="_self">storms battering the Gulf</a>, the impacts of the <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/climate-change/" target="_self">climate crisis</a> can feel overwhelming right now. <em><a href="https://kissthegroundmovie.com/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">Kiss the Ground</a> </em>offers an alternative to all of the bad news by focusing on solutions.</p><p>The film, directed by Josh and Rebecca Tickell and narrated by Woody Harrelson, explains how we can heal the Earth through "regenerative agriculture," farming practices that draw carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and into soil as a way to restore soil health, which in turn boosts ecosystems and food supplies.</p><p>"<em>Kiss the Ground </em>shows how feasible it is to make these changes at a grassroots level immediately and make a truly substantive impact with low cost and easy to implement solutions," Executive Producer RJ Jain said in an email. "This is why I got involved."</p>
2. Public Trust: The Fight for America's Public Lands<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="5338f7a2931e356910026e5fd76fac56"><iframe lazy-loadable="true" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/jsKMTAaj_wQ?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p><strong>Streaming On: YouTube</strong></p><p><strong>Premiere Date: Sept. 25, 2 p.m. EDT </strong></p><p>This <a href="https://www.patagonia.com/films/public-trust/" target="_blank">award-winning documentary</a> tells the stories of Indigenous activists, journalists, whistleblowers and historians working to protect America's <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/tag/public-lands" target="_self">public lands</a>. The film focuses on three political struggles: the shrinking of <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/tag/bears-ears" target="_self">Bears Ears</a> National Monument in Utah, the mining of Boundary Waters Wilderness in Minnesota and the opening of the <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/tag/Arctic-National-Wildlife-Refuge" target="_self">Arctic National Wildlife Refuge</a> to fossil fuel exploration.</p><p><em>Public Trust</em> was directed by David Garrett Byars and produced by Jeremy Rubingh. Patagonia Films, Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard and actor Robert Redford are executive producers. It will be <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OGjnIG7puzY" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">released</a> on YouTube in time for <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/national-public-lands-day-2640656776.html" target="_self">National Public Lands Day</a>.</p><p>"Our country is fortunate to have millions of acres of public lands, including National Parks, Monuments, Wildlife Refuges and Wilderness set aside for future generations," Redford said. "Sadly, these lands that belong to you and me are under unprecedented threats from the greed of big corporations, eager to weaken restrictions in the pursuit of profits. Many of our current politicians are also to blame. <em>Public Trust</em> tells the story of citizens who are fighting back. It's a much-needed wake-up call for all of us who want to preserve our unique and wild cultural heritage."</p>
3. David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="156438a30836a765d7a92982545fc334"><iframe lazy-loadable="true" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/B_OFZvAd05Y?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p><strong>Streaming On: Netflix</strong></p><p><strong>Premiere Date: Oct. 4</strong></p><p>Beloved nature broadcaster <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/tag/David-Attenborough" target="_self">David Attenborough</a> has spent his career introducing viewers to the wonders of our planet. In recent years, his footage of albatrosses swallowing <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/tag/plastics" target="_self">plastic</a> in <em>Blue Planet II</em> has been credited with <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/2018-fighting-plastic-waste-2624606566.html" target="_self">helping to ramp up</a> the global fight against plastic pollution. Now, in this <a href="https://www.wwf.org.uk/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">World Wildlife Fund</a> (WWF)-produced <a href="https://www.attenborough.film/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">documentary</a>, he reflects on the defining moments of his career and the devastating changes he has witnessed.</p><p><em>David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet,</em> which was also produced by Silverback Films and directed by Alastair Fothergill, Jonnie Hughes and Keith Scholey, features an intimate conversation between Attenborough and Sir Michael Palin as the broadcaster reflects on his life and a career that took him to every continent on Earth. In addition to streaming on Netflix, the movie will be available in select theaters starting Sept. 28.</p><p>"For decades, David has brought the natural world to the homes of audiences worldwide, but there has never been a more significant moment for him to share his own story and reflections," WWF executive producer Colin Butfield said in a <a href="https://www.wwf.org.uk/updates/david-attenborough-life-our-planet" target="_blank">statement</a>. "This film coincides with a monumental year for environmental action as world leaders make critical decisions on nature and climate. It sends a powerful message from the most inspiring and celebrated naturalist of our time."</p>
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