Photo credit/ Seub Nakhasathien Foundation
Photo credit/ Seub Nakhasathien Foundation

FB posts of abused wildlife and animals for sale worry conservation groups

national March 18, 2017 19:25

By The Nation

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FACEBOOK posts of wild animals for show or sale continued unabated despite state efforts to suppress them, according to a recent survey by conservation groups.



FACEBOOK posts of wild animals for show or sale continued unabated despite state efforts to suppress them, according to a recent survey by conservation groups. 

The Seub Nakhasathien Foundation posted on its Facebook page yesterday material from a survey by the Bird Conservation Society of Thailand that shows illegal activity remains rampant online.

The foundation said it was still not clear how, or to what extent, existing laws can be enforced against such activities, despite the clear challenge it represents to the authorities.

The Bird Conservation Society looked into some Facebook groups conducting activities such as a “Buy and sell cute and weird animals” group, which has more than 50,000 members. They post photos of animals along with bank accounts to prove they are serious.

A survey from December 2015 to April 2016 found a number of wild animals – protected and endangered species – were put on sale on the group’s page. They included animals imported from overseas, mammals such as otters, bears, leopard cats, foxes, monkeys and various endangered birds – even rare hornbills.

Hornbill beaks ‘re-crafted’ 

Cubs and chicks were also advertised along with their parents, and this peaked during summer when the bird parents laid eggs, the foundation said.

Many photos of helmeted hornbills were posted for sale on Facebook. The bird is a rare species mainly found in tropical forests in Hala Bala National Park. It is estimated that fewer than 100 of them are left in the forests.

The rise in demand for the birds may stem partly from their popularity among Chinese customers, the foundation noted, as their horns are also used crafting Buddhist images.

It said some 2,000 carcasses of hornbills were seized from 2011 to 2015, which hit its population in the wild, the foundation noted.

In total, photos of more than 700 wild animals were posted for sale. There were posts about over 1,300 animals – 105 different species, with birds being the most common item put up for sale, followed by mammals and reptiles.

The National Parks, Wildlife |and Plant Conservation Department said on Thursday it has stepped up efforts to suppress wildlife poaching, as its staff had also seen photos posted on several Facebook pages recently.

The Facebook posts it found showed carcasses of wild animals as well as weapons used to kill them. An investigation showed that several Facebook users had posted photos of poached wildlife, including porcupines, hawks, leopards and other animals.

The department has recently set up a unit to monitor online activity to curb similar crimes, which are deemed as challenging authorities.

 

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