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Indian government accuses Amazon, Alibaba, eBay of facilitating illegal wildlife trade

The government shares a list of 106 websites that were allegedly advertising sales of rare animals and their parts.

Amazon is among the sites the Indian government says is involved in the trade of rare animals and their body parts.
Amazon screenshot by Daniel Van Boom/CNET

The Indian government says it has found a number of international and national websites guilty of "selling" rare animals and their parts.

Environment Minister Anil Madhav Dave shared a list with Parliament on Monday of 106 websites -- mostly comprised of shopping portals -- that are either trading wildlife or are running smuggling-related advertisements, reports The Economic Times. These websites include Amazon, Snapdeal, YouTube, eBay and Alibaba.

The minister told Parliament that the aforementioned websites were notified about the issues in May, and many have removed the objectionable content from their platforms.

Also in May, more than 9,000 people signed a petition by Wildlife SoS, an organisation that aims to protect and conserve the environment and wildlife, requesting Amazon to remove snares and traps from its website after a sloth bear club lost a limb and her mother to a snare.

Amazon India told ET that it has taken down 296 items from the "animal specimen" category and 104 items from the "snares or traps" category that were listed by third-party sellers. Other retailers, like Snapdeal, Quikr and OLX, have also complied with the government's guidelines, according to the report.

Amazon, Alibaba, Google, Snapdeal and OLX did not respond to a request for comment.

Illegal wildlife trade has long been a problem in India. Many cases have been reported over the years, but despite all the efforts, the problem is yet to be completely eradicated. In 2013, the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau found that over 200 sites across the country were used to exchange animal body parts.

And it's not the only recent instance of American companies like Amazon finding themselves in trouble in India. Last month, the country's Supreme Court took Google, Yahoo and Microsoft to task for their respective search engines hosting advertisements for tools and clinics that can determine the sex of a fetus. Prenatal sex determination was made illegal in India in 1994 to prevent sex-selective abortions.