The Wildlife Trafficking Alliance (WTA) and eBay have worked together for five years to raise consumer awareness and reduce demand and sale of illegal wildlife products online. But this year, WTA and eBay executed a special year-long partnership that included a strategic series of events from early spring to fall—kicking off on World Wildlife Day (3 March) and concluding shortly after World Tourism Day (27 September).
To highlight World Wildlife Day, World Elephant Day, World Tiger Day, and World Rhino Day, eBay featured WTA as part of their “Give at Checkout” program. This feature spot helped raise money for WTA and provided an opportunity to educate consumers about victims of the illegal trade, including calls to action about how they can help protect them. eBay customers were also able to support WTA year-round by purchasing a donation certificate as part of eBay’s “Gifts That Give Back” program or using the give at checkout feature with any purchase.
The final event was an exciting ten-day charity auction at the end of September—scheduled around World Tourism Day to celebrate travel and encourage visitation to Association of Zoos and Aquariums-accredited facilities. The auction offered nearly 40 unique items and experiences from 28 AZA members and WTA partners. From one-of-a-kind artwork made via animal enrichment programs to behind-the-scenes animal encounters to incredible vacation packages, the auction highlighted WTA and provided significant promotion for the donating partners.
This year marked the first comprehensive effort with eBay to take place on key dates throughout the year with the goals of educating consumers about wildlife trafficking, reducing the attempted purchase and sale of illegal wildlife products on the eBay platform, and raising money for WTA. The event series raised nearly $60,000, which will be used to implement initiatives combating wildlife trafficking around the world.
“eBay is a global commerce leader that connects millions of buyers and sellers around the world and models corporate concern and responsibility for the goods that are sold using their platform. Part of this is a commitment to educating consumers on illegal wildlife products,” said Dan Ashe, president and chief executive officer of the AZA. “We were excited to partner with eBay. Together, we educated millions of consumers and raised money to help stop wildlife trafficking.”
“eBay is committed to doing its part to protect endangered species and has worked closely with conservation organizations and regulatory authorities to develop company policies designed to combat the illegal trade of wildlife. As part of those efforts, we have blocked over 257,000 listings for items that may violate our Animal Products Policy in 2020,” said eBay’s Director of Global Policy and Regulatory Management, Mike Carson. “But eradicating the illegal wildlife trade must be a collaborative effort that not only addresses supply issues, but also educates the consumer on the illegal and unethical nature of these products in order to reduce demand. eBay is proud to work with the Wildlife Trafficking Alliance to raise awareness about the issue among our community and to support efforts to raise money for anti-wildlife trafficking activities.”
eBay is a founding corporate partner of WTA, and over the past five years has taken critical steps to fulfill its commitments—from online monitoring of listings and developing partnerships with law enforcement agencies, to educating consumers about wildlife trafficking and reducing the purchase and sale of illegal wildlife products on its platform. Additionally, since WTA was acquired by AZA in 2018, eBay has maintained annual “Gold Partner” status, contributing $10,000 of unrestricted funds per year to help fund WTA activities.
This year’s successful partnership with eBay was a departure from previous corporate partnerships under the WTA umbrella that focused on broader, industry-wide efforts across a wide spectrum of partners in key sectors. By co-developing an individualized partnership with eBay, we effectively harnessed the opportunities their platform provides to reach a critical mass of consumers.
We are grateful that eBay embraced this venture and look forward to replicating this success with eBay soon and using this partnership model with other WTA corporate partners.
Sara Walker is the Senior Advisor on Wildlife Trafficking for the Wildlife Trafficking Alliance