PR Newswire: USAID, Born Free USA, and Freeland Launch WildScan App to Counter Wildlife Trafficking in West Africa (PRESS RELEASE)

PR Newswire: USAID, Born Free USA, and Freeland Launch WildScan App to Counter Wildlife Trafficking in West Africa (PRESS RELEASE). “Designed as a tool for customs and border patrol officers, WildScan aids in the identification of wildlife species and wildlife parts and products being trafficked across borders. The app comes with a comprehensive photo library and database of vital information on more than 500 protected species, providing users with tips on how to identify the animals they encounter. WildScan also details local animal protection laws and includes a reporting option that allows the user to document a suspected wildlife crime with the push of one button. This reporting transmits information to relevant enforcement agencies and contributes to broader information sharing on wildlife crime in the region.”

Reuters: Vietnam bans wildlife trade to curb risk of pandemics

Reuters: Vietnam bans wildlife trade to curb risk of pandemics. “Vietnam’s Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has issued a directive to ban the Southeast Asian country’s wildlife trade with immediate effect in order to reduce the risk of new pandemics, a government statement said. The directive bans imports of live wild animals and wildlife products, eliminates wildlife markets, and enforce prohibitions on illegal hunting and trading of wild animals, including online sales, according to the statement issued late on Thursday.”

Mongabay: Holding social media companies accountable for facilitating illegal wildlife trade (commentary)

Mongabay: Holding social media companies accountable for facilitating illegal wildlife trade (commentary). “Facebook, and other social media firms, mainly rely on algorithms and artificial intelligence to moderate harmful content. But investigations by the Alliance to Counter Crime Online (ACCO) show time and again how these algorithms actually connect traffickers faster than moderators can remove them. They suggest friends and recommend groups, putting illicit actors in touch with one another, continually expanding networks of users engaging in similar illegal activities.”

Mongabay: Social media enables the illegal wildlife pet trade in Malaysia

Mongabay: Social media enables the illegal wildlife pet trade in Malaysia. “It might seem harmless enough at first. The big eyes and the rambunctious, bounding play of the tiny cats and monkeys on your social media feed draw you in, and you think, I could take care of one of these adorable little animals. Reaching an audience of thousands of potential buyers is just one of the benefits that wildlife traffickers like Kejora Pets in Peninsular Malaysia reap when using social media. It also helps them cloak their identity and dodge the law while satisfying the demand for animals that have been plucked from their forest homes. But the sale of these animals as pets threatens their survival in the wild, conservationists say.”

BBC: Facebook animal trade exposed in Thailand

BBC: Facebook animal trade exposed in Thailand. “More than 1,500 listings of live animals for sale have been found on Facebook in Thailand by a wildlife trafficking watchdog. Traffic, which monitors such activity, said many of the species, despite having international protection, were not native to the country, and so trading them was unregulated.”

Associated Press: Body parts from threatened wildlife widely sold on Facebook

Associated Press: Body parts from threatened wildlife widely sold on Facebook. “Facebook is displaying advertisements for well-known American corporations on group pages operated by overseas wildlife traffickers illegally selling the body parts of threatened animals, including elephant ivory, rhino horn and tiger teeth. In a secret complaint filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, wildlife preservation advocates allege that Facebook’s failure to stop illicit traders using its service for illegal activity violates the social network’s responsibilities as a publicly traded company.”

Phys .org: Using artificial intelligence to investigate illegal wildlife trade on social media

Phys. org: Using artificial intelligence to investigate illegal wildlife trade on social media. “Illegal wildlife trade is one of the biggest threats to biodiversity conservation and is currently expanding to social media. This is a worrisome trend, given the ease of access and popularity of social media. Efficient monitoring of illegal wildlife trade on social media is therefore crucial for conserving biodiversity. In a new article published in the journal Conservation Biology, scientists from the University of Helsinki, Digital Geography Lab, argue that methods from artificial intelligence can be used to help monitor the illegal wildlife trade on social media.”

Facebook top choice for Philippines wildlife traders: monitor (The Independent)

The Independent: Facebook top choice for Philippines wildlife traders: monitor. “Facebook has emerged as the top site for wildlife trafficking in the Philippines, a watchdog said Friday, with thousands of endangered crocodiles, snakes and turtles illegally traded in just three months. Monitoring network TRAFFIC said Facebook had not done enough to shut down the trade, which saw more than 5,000 reptiles from 115 species put up for sale on its discussion groups from June to August 2016 alone.”