Iranian Sites are Offering Wild Animals for Sale Online, Official Says

Iranian Cyberpolice has identified 29 cases of illegal wildlife trade on the internet so far, according to Colonel Jamshid Mohabat-Khani, the commander of the Environmental Protection Unit of Iran’s Department of Environment.

“Even reputable online stores including Divar and Shaypoor have posted ads for entities offering a variety of wild animals for sale on their websites,” Colonel Mohabat-Khani said. “It is illegal to advertise the sale of wild animals on the internet. The public must report any suspicious activities regarding the illegal poaching, sale, and trafficking of wildlife by calling 1540 at the Environmental Protection Unit.”

Commander Mohabat-Khani added: “We have recorded cases involving the illegal sale of turtles, water snakes and Kaiser’s spotted newt. Our unit has identified and dealt with 29 instances of illegal online trading of wildlife since December 2018. These include three cases in the central province of Isfahan, six in the northern province of Tehran, three in the southeastern province of Sistan and Baluchestan, two in the northeastern province of Golestan and nine classified ads on websites Divar and Shaypoor.”

[aesop_image img=”” panorama=”off” credit=”REUTERS ” align=”center” lightbox=”off” captionsrc=”custom” caption=”FILE PHOTO: Kooshki, an Asiatic cheetah captured by a poacher as a cub and rescued by the Department of Environment, rests in his enclosure at Pardisan Zoo in Tehran in this picture taken June 18, 2008. Iranian and Western wildlife experts are working together to save rare cheetahs from extinction in this arid, mountainous region, despite a nuclear row between their governments. ” captionposition=”center” revealfx=”off” overlay_revealfx=”off”]

“Authorities have shut down an illegal wildlife trade operation in Azadegan Expressway [in the south side of Tehran] which was the biggest market for rare birds.” Hamidreza Tahsisli, the managing director of Tehran’s Urban Industries and Occupational Management Company, said on May 11. “Wildlife traders used to sell lion cubs and small alligators concealed in cardboard boxes on street corners. We have removed theses traders from our streets. Unfortunately, illegal wildlife trade continues on the black market.”

An increasing number of online stores have been advertising the sale of “unique” animals on their websites, including cheetahs, salamanders, snakes, owls, pigeons, and iguana. According to animal protection agencies, 70 percent of wild animals traded illegally on the black market die in captivity. Illegal wildlife trade drives many species to extinction.

[Translated from Persian by Fardine Hamidi]