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

Yeo, Lydia M. and McCrea, Rachel S. and Roberts, David L. (2017) A novel application of mark-recapture to examine behaviour associated with the online trade in elephant ivory. PeerJ, 5 . e3048. ISSN 2167-8359. (doi:https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.3048) (Full text available)

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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: Article
Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history > QH324.2 Computational biology
Q Science > QH Natural history > QH75 Conservation (Biology)
Q Science > QL Zoology
Divisions: Faculties > Sciences > School of Mathematics Statistics and Actuarial Science
Faculties > Sciences > School of Mathematics Statistics and Actuarial Science > Statistics
Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation
Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation > Biodiversity Conservation Group
Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation > Biodiversity Management Group
Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation > DICE (Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology)
Depositing User: David Roberts
Date Deposited: 13 Mar 2017 16:21 UTC
Last Modified: 14 Mar 2017 10:40 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/60892 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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