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App helps tourists to help in fight against illegal wildlife trade in Australia

An app built by Taronga Zoo in Australia has been created to help tackle the problem of wildlife trafficking in the country and aims to support the authorities, as well as garner the interest of tourists.

It's hoped that by making this information about illegal global trade of wild animals in Australia more widespread that those who visit the country will be able to help make a significant difference in aiding the fight against this activity, reports ABC Online.

So far, the Wildlife Wilderness app created by the zoo has generated more than 500 intelligence reports over the past 12 months in Australia and has been successful enough for it to go global.

The app is photography-based and will see tourists and locals taking pictures of what they believe to be illegal wildlife trade. The photo takes note of the exact location of the incident and from there, the information is send to TRAFFIC, which monitors wildlife trade around the world.

TRAFFIC then analyses the details and creates a crime scan and report to pass on to the relevant authorities.

People using the app have reported animals being sold in the pet trade, rare orchids and ivory that they've found at markets.

Dr Chris Shepherd, TRAFFIC's south-east Asia director, said: "We can use it to not only assist with enforcement efforts, but also to better understand how the traders are working and where trade is taking place."

Sadly, global wildlife trade is a flourishing business and Dr Shepherd says that it's functioning at "crisis level".

Cameron Kerr, Taronga Zoo chief executive, believes that tourists should be a large presence of the action against illegal wildlife trade in Australia.

He commented that with the help of tourists, there can be millions of eyes looking out for illegal trade.

Dr Shepherd added that by encouraging involvement from visitors to the country, they are less likely to become customers of this illicit purchasing and may instead become voices for protecting wildlife.

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