A novel application of mark-recapture to examine behaviour associated with the online trade in elephant ivory

Yeo, Lydia M. and McCrea, Rachel and Roberts, David L. (2017) A novel application of mark-recapture to examine behaviour associated with the online trade in elephant ivory. PeerJ, 5. ISSN 2167-8359

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Abstract

The illegal trade in elephant ivory is driving the unlawful killing of elephants such that populations are now suffering unsustainable reductions. The internet is increasingly being used as a platform to conduct illegal wildlife trade, including elephant ivory. As a globally accessible medium the internet is as highly attractive to those involved in the illegal trade as it is challenging to regulate. Characterising the online illegal wildlife (ivory) trade is complex, yet key to informing enforcement activities. We applied mark-recapture to investigate behaviour associated with the online trade in elephant ivory on eBay UK as a generalist online marketplace. Our results indicate that trade takes place via eBay UK, despite its policy prohibiting this, and that two distinct trading populations exist, characterised by the pattern of their ivory sales. We suggest these may represent a large number of occasional (or non-commercial) sellers and a smaller number of dedicated (or commercial) sellers. Directing resource towards reducing the volume of occasional sales, such as through education, would enable greater focus to be placed upon characterising the extent and value of the illegal, “commercial” online ivory trade. MRC has the potential to characterise the illegal trade in ivory and diverse wildlife commodities traded using various online platforms.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
PeerJ
Uncontrolled Keywords:
/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/2800
Subjects:
ID Code:
176514
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
12 Oct 2022 11:15
Refereed?:
Yes
Published?:
Published
Last Modified:
22 Nov 2022 11:52