Animal rights outfit People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) on 26 October claimed that a popular classifieds website has been warned by the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB) to withdraw advertisements promoting sale of animals protected under Indian Wildlife Protection Act.
PETA stated that the WCCB has shot off a letter to OLX after complaints over online facilitation of sale of wild animals.
"On the heels of a complaint from PETA about OLX, which has apparently been facilitating the sale of wild animals protected by law on its website, additional director Tilotama Varma of the WCCB fired off a warning letter to OLX India CEO Amarjeet Singh Batra.
"The letter orders OLX to withdraw all ads promoting the sale of animals protected under The Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, and explains punishment may follow if the request is ignored," a PETA statement said and claimed it has the copy of the letter.
The letter states that through PETA's complaint as well as live monitoring, "it has come to the notice of this Bureau that some scheduled wildlife articles listed under Schedules of the Act are being offered for sale through your online trade portal".
The letter points out that the trade in wild animals and their parts is punishable by up to seven years' imprisonment and that "any person (including a company) that abets the contravention of any provisions of the Act shall be deemed to have contravened that provisions or rule."
The advertisements spotted on OLX's web page by PETA included one for a koala - a threatened species that is illegal to keep as a "pet" in any country. Doves, who are protected under Schedule IV of The Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 were also advertised on the site.
"OLX seems willing to sell any animal to anyone for any reason and this has got to stop. Animals are living beings. They are not ours to buy and sell like rice or teacups," said PETA India Chief Executive Officer Poorva Joshipura.