Wildlife Trafficking via Social Media in Brazil

Tanya Wyatt*, Ophelia Miralles, Francis Masse, Raulff Lima, Thiago Vargas da Costa, Dener Giovanini

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

Abstract

The trafficking of non-human animals is having a profound effect on biodiversity and conservation efforts. This is also the case in Brazil where it is estimated that millions of wild animals are sold each year, particularly for the pet market. The increasing use of social media and private messaging services (i.e., Facebook and WhatsApp) facilitate this illegal activity to a degree that has not yet been explored. This paper shares the findings of a pilot study analysing the patterns and trends from 500 messages containing at least 1682 individual animals in Brazil via social media and private messaging services. We found the vast majority of the wildlife advertised are Brazilian reptiles and birds. All the trade observed was illegal since it was not happening through certified breeders. This means that it is likely tens of millions of wildlife are being illegally traded each year in Brazil, which has conservation and public health implications in Brazil, but also globally. Efforts to reduce the demand for wildlife in and from Brazil and to support law enforcement agencies and technology companies in combating wildlife trafficking are needed.
Original languageEnglish
Article number109420
Pages (from-to)1-4
Number of pages4
JournalBiological Conservation
Volume265
Early online date4 Dec 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2022

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