Trading faces: a rapid assessment on the use of Facebook to trade wildlife in Peninsular Malaysia

Malaysians are turning Facebook into a wildlife marketplace, driving a roaring and often illegal trade in iconic and threatened animals, according to this new report from TRAFFIC.

Malaysians are turning Facebook into a wildlife marketplace, driving a roaring and often illegal trade in iconic and threatened animals, according to a new report from TRAFFIC. Just half an hour’s daily monitoring over five months by TRAFFIC researchers of 14 Facebook Groups in Peninsular Malaysia found more than 300 apparently wild, live animals for sale as pets, ranging from Sun Bears Helarctos malayanus and gibbons, to otters and even Binturong Arctictis binturong. The previously undocumented trade was unexpected because Peninsular Malaysia does not have open wildlife markets like those found elsewhere in Southeast Asia. The rise of social media appears to have enabled the creation of a thriving marketplace for wild animals as pets where one previously didn’t exist in Malaysia, said Kanitha Krishnasamy, Programme Manager for TRAFFIC in Southeast Asia and a co-author of the new report, Trading Faces: A Rapid Assessment on the use of Facebook to Trade Wildlife in Peninsular Malaysia.

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