turtle-animals
Rare animals are being sold via ecommerce marketplaces and online classifieds portals, including prominent players such as Amazon, eBay, Quikr, Olx, Alibaba, YouTube, Snapdeal, Petsmart, Rediff Shopping and others, India’s Environment Minister Anil Dave informed the Rajya Sabha yesterday. While we haven’t independently verified the veracity of these claims, the list of 106 websites (below) “seen advertising sale of rare animals and their parts” was collated by the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau.

In an email, Ebay India has said that their website guidelines prevent the sale of endangered animals:

“We possess zero tolerance for wrongdoing and we also have firm policies to control the sale of endangered animals and their body parts. We have appended the guidelines for sellers on our site: http://pages.ebay.com/help/policies/wildlife.html#policy which will help guide our users. If any listing violation is found going forward, we shall remove the listing and ban the seller from the place”, eBay adds.

The minister, in his response to the Rajya Sabha said (doc) that they are monitoring ecommerce websites and sharing details of the suspects with law enforcement agencies:

i. Services of Cyber Crime Specialist on Contractual basis is being utilized to carry out regular cyber patrolling to detect any posts and offers over such trade portals on the World Wide Web;
ii. On detection of such offers, details are retrieved of the suspect and the information is passed on to relevant enforcement agencies for legal action;
iii. A meeting of representatives from online trade portals was convened on 19th May 2016 to discuss issues pertaining to online wildlife trade and sensitize them on illegal wildlife trade and to discuss modalities to assist Wildlife Crime Control Bureau in case of such detection;
iv. During training and sensitization programme conducted by the Bureau, the issue of illegal online wildlife trade is being highlighted so that the officials involved in enforcement are abreast of such trends and take necessary action.

Note that the as per the WCCB’s ITC(HS) code, Section 1, live animals that are restricted from trading and these include pure bred horses, mules and hinnies, bulls, cows, sheep, goat, turkeys, ducks, geese, rabbits, hares, reptiles including turtles and snakes, parakeets, ostriches, parrots, cockatoos, macaws, etc.

MediaNama’s Take

The Ministry is taking the right approach here: sensitizing the online platforms about the trading of rare animals instead of directly holding them accountable for a merchant on their platform. Given that the role of the platform is that of a ecommerce marketplace, and it is impossible for them to keep track of each and every seller and each product from each seller on their marketplace, the use of these platforms to detect sellers is the correct approach. Section 79 of the IT Act affords the platforms a safe harbor, as mere intermediaries, although they have to act upon being notified about such sellers. This safe harbor is critical for the operation of the Internet, and it goes back to how Avnish Bajaj was held responsible, when a seller put up a pornographic clip for sale on ecommerce marketplace Baazee.com (now ebay.in).

At the same time, as we have mentioned earlier, there is a need for platforms to also create alerts and flags, for preventing such listings from going up in the first place: these will need to be automated, because manual intervention suggests actual knowledge of the act, and thus liability for the platform.

Also read: On the responsibility, accountability and liability of platforms, marketplaces and aggregators

List of sites (including many ecommerce marketplaces)

1. Quikr.com
2. Gumtree.com
3. ClickIndia.in
4. Olx.in
5. eBay.com
6. Adsglobe.com
7. pets.oodle.com
8. Sell.com
9. Click.in
10. Classifiedads.com
11. Indialist.com
12. Locanto.in
13. globalFreeClassifiedAds.com
14. Adpost.com
15. Alibaba.com
16. Webindia123.com
17. inetgiant.com
18. yakaz.com
19. pennysaverusa.com
20. daype.com
21. Adeex.com
22. Whereincity.com
23. Aliexpress.com
24. ocala4sale.com
25. claz.org
26. Meramaal.com
27. Indiagrid.com
28. salespider.com
29. domesticsale.com
30. Adsmantra.com
31. epage.com
32. recycler.com
33. classifiedclan.com
34. hoobly.com
35. freeadlists.com
36. adpost.com
37. trade.indiamart.com
38. usfreeads.com
39. usnetads.com
40. theturtlesource.com
41. parrotshandraised.com.au
42. backwaterreptiles.com
43. youtube.com
44. reptilesncritters.com
45. myaquariumclub.com
46. citybase.in
47. ricepuller.com
48. Amazon.com
49. buytigers.com
50. softbillsforsale.com
51. bolee.com
52. shopping.rediff.com
53. vastustore.com
54. www.eindiabusiness.com
55. www.netexpress.co.in
56. www.whereincity.com
57. BeatyourPrice.com
58. taxidermiemporium.com
59. Boostime.in
60. Bizmartindia.com
61. Worldslist.com
62. Postaroo.com
63. Freeadvertisingexchange.com
64. freeadscity.com
65. Rajb2b.com
66. bavun.in
67. wantedwants.com
68. Dragg.in
69. buysellcommunity.com
70. Bharatpatal
71. Highlandclassifieds
72. Ozfreeonline.com
73. Kugli.com
74. Marketplace.sfgate.com
75. Ablewise.com
76. classifiedsforfree.com
77. craigslist.org
78. domesticsale.com
79. freeadlists.com
80. geebo.com
81. hot-ads.com
82. jihoy.com
83. kaango.com
84. nareshgroup.com
85. loot.com
86. pennysaverusa.com
87. Snakesvenom.com
88. Paintbrushes.com
89. ashbrush.com
90. startortoiseuk.co.uk
91. tortoisesupply.com
92. turtlesale.com
93. snakesatsunset.com
94. market.kingsnake.com
95. petsmart.com
96. petsolutions.com
97. reptilecity.com
98. undergroundreptiles.com
99. firstchoicereptiles.com
100. faunaclassifieds.com
101. cornsnake.net
102. havocscope.com
103. hookbillsforsale.com
104. tantraveda.org
105. clickbd.com
106. snapdeal.com

With inputs from Sowmya Sankaran