Zac Goldsmith, MP for Richmond Park, has called for an end to the illegal online trade of live, endangered and threatened animals driving many species towards extinction.

Tens of thousands of live animals and their body parts have been advertised on online marketplaces and social media platforms, according to a new report from the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW).

The IFAW report identified 5,381 advertisements in total for 11,772 endangered and threatened specimens worth £3,044,974, across a period of six weeks in 2017.

80 percent of the advertisements found offered live animals, including exotic animals such as tortoises, parrots, owls, primates and even big cats as pets.

Reptiles, particularly live tortoises and turtles, were the most common, with 45 percent of specimens identified in the report.

Almost a quarter of the remaining species were birds, including endangered African grey parrots.

Mammals identified in the reports include cats, primates, bears and rhinos.

Mr Goldsmith says: “The Government’s Ivory Bill, which has just been put before Parliament is a great step forward, but we need more action

“I will be pushing for a continued lead from our Government in the build-up to the Illegal Wildlife Trade Conference in London this October.”

“Having campaigned against the ivory trade and the illegal wildlife trade for many years, I am delighted to support IFAW’s work to stop wildlife cybercrime.”

“With so many of our most endangered species at a tipping point it is important that we all do our part to stop this trade and protect our wildlife, from elephants to rhinos to parrots.”

Philip Mansbridge, UK Director of IFAW, says: “We all have a part to play in protecting our most threatened wildlife, whether as consumers, politicians or those involved in running the online marketplaces where so much of this trade in live animals and animal products takes place.

“Our investigation shows ivory is still a major component of online wildlife trade and so it is vital that the UK ivory ban Bill, now introduced to Parliament, progresses swiftly into legislation.”