Social media firms urged to fight online wildlife trade | Inquirer News

Social media firms urged to fight online wildlife trade

/ 05:02 AM February 16, 2023

white-eared brown dove STORY:

SAVED | The white-eared brown dove, locally known as “alimokon,” seized from a safe house of a vlogger in Glan, Sarangani, on Monday are in the custody of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and will soon be released back to the wild. (Photo from the Departmennt of Environment and Natural Resources)

DAVAO CITY, Davao del Sur, Philippines — Local environmentalists are urging social media companies and platforms to take down pages and channels used by vloggers for the illegal wildlife trade.

The call came as personnel of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in Soccsksargen (South Cotabato, Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, and General Santos) region rescued birds intended for sale online by vloggers, the most recent of which was on Monday in Glan, Sarangani, involving 39 birds.


On Feb. 1, environmental law enforcers rescued 21 birds offered online in Tampakan, South Cotabato.


“Ideally, platforms like YouTube, Facebook, and others should never allow such groups or individuals who are into poaching and wildlife trade to operate because it reflects badly on them as well,” said Emerson Sy, herpetologist and wildlife trade analyst who works as a consultant to various environmental nongovernment organizations.

Sy said that his group scoured social media sites last year and compiled more than 200 hunting channels on YouTube and more than 300 groups on Facebook involved in selling wildlife all over the Philippines.

“We requested Google to take down the YouTube channels since, aside from doing illegal acts, some of them are now ‘monetized’ and earning from their illegal activities,” Sy said.

“Most deals were closed via Facebook Messenger, away from any prying eyes, making it difficult for effective monitoring of illicit online activity. In at least one case, a trader was documented using a ride-sharing service to deliver wildlife to a buyer,” he added.

On Monday, DENR personnel seized white-eared brown doves, locally known as “alimokon,” at Barangay Pangyan in Glan, Sarangani.

Rosalinda Cortez, Community Environment and Natural Resources Office head in Glan, said they raided the house of a vlogger after receiving information from concerned residents. The confiscated alimokon were illegally caught and kept in cages for wildlife trading.


She said the raiding team failed to arrest the vlogger, who is behind the page Alimokon Glan Sarangani Province, since he was out allegedly hunting wildlife species. The page has since been taken down.

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