Google Urged to Delete Ivory Ads

by | Mar 5, 2013

Google is under pressure to remove what an environmental group described as thousands of ads promoting products from endangered whale and elephant species.

The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), a non-profit based in Washington D.C., and London, wrote to Google CEO Larry Page requesting immediate removal of more than 1,400 ads that promote whale products and as many as 10,000 ads for elephant ivory products. The ads on Google’s Japanese shopping site are contrary to the company’s own policies, which prohibits the promotion of elephant ivory and whale products on its site, EIA said.

As of Monday, Google had not responded or taken down the ads, the non-profit said.

About 80 percent of the 10,000 elephant product ads on Google’s Japanese shopping site are for “hanko,” Japanese name seals used to affix signatures to documents. Hanko sales have contributed to the wide-scale resumption of elephant poaching across Africa, EIA said.

The appeal to Google was made as 178 nations gathered this week in Thailand for a meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Delegates at the United Nations-backed conference will examine about 70 proposals to amend the current wildlife trade system, which covers about 35,000 species of plants and animals including their products and derivatives, with the aim to stop wildlife poaching and illegal trading.

Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said this week at the CITES conference that the country will end its domestic ivory trade, promising legislation that could help Thailand avoid international trade sanctions. The announcement, which came at the opening ceremony of the CITES conference in Bangkok, did not include a timeframe for the new laws.

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