Where Did You Get That Lion Cub From?

The Internet (or the World Wide Web, or however you refer to the tool that allows us to "go online") has taken on somewhat humanistic tendencies during its existence. We celebrated its 40th birthday not too long ago, it connects us to others around the world in many ways like a digital dispatcher, and it has been nominated for the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize. And now, you can add "biggest threat to endangered species" to the list.

From ivory trinkets to live baby lions, it's getting easier to sell anything over the Web. Campaigners Convention on International Trade on Endangered Species (CITES) have been meeting in Doha, Qahtar during this month to address the issue at hand. Paul Todd of the International Find for Animal Welfare tells the BBC that the online trading of protected animals is no easy task to stop:

...thousands of endangered species are regularly traded on the internet, as buyers and sellers take advantage of the anonymity - and vast global market - the world wide web can offer. Those trying to police illegal sales say the size of problem is almost impossible to estimate. They say the US is the biggest market, but that Europe, China, Russia and Australia also play a large part.

Talks on the trading of lizards, polar bears, parrots, and coral, for example, continue at the 175-nation convention until March 25th. And to think that the tool we use to purchase vintage, inanimate personal objects is also utilized for is quite shocking to some...and commonplace for others. So, the next time you hear someone joking about a health potion made from bits of rhino — think twice. For more on the e-commerce of endangered species, click here.

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