Unlike most online platforms that make provision for advertising goods and services for sale or “give-away”, Cycadfriends makes an effort to ensure that the person is permitted to sell the products whenever such permits are required. The people who advertise threatened or protected species on our sites have been screened, in the sense that they have submitted a valid copy of their seller’s permit, proving that they are indeed allowed to advertise and sell the respective products. Other platforms do not provide this guarantee, so you would not know which of the ads are in fact covered in terms of legal requirements. This is a great risk for “domestic” conservation because it creates a feeling that there is leniency in terms of trading with these very vulnerable species. We know that it is almost impossible to prevent this. If an item is not explicitly illegal, eg. COMPLETELY against the law to possess, sell or buy – then it may be advertised on some of the largest trading platforms on the internet, such as eBay. In other words, you can advertise E hirsutus on there because there is a CHANCE that you have a permit to sell it, but they are not going to verify. This is where we are different. We simply do not allow advertising of plants for sale unless we have peace-of-mind regarding the deal. This is our utmost responsibility as hosts of these platforms and groups.
We have taken advantage of this opportunity, by partnering with nurseries and other interested and affected parties, to create an initiative whereby we all equally contribute towards legal and honest trading. Through this initiative, we are also looking at empowering all participants by focusing on their specific needs. Some are here to buy, others are here to sell. If buyers and sellers can commit to an honest system – where they are specifically exposed to each other – so that sellers provide excellent quality legal plants at good prices to buyers who are looking for legal plants of excellent quality and at a good price – then there is no reason to turn to illegal means. Through this partnership, funds are raised towards awareness campaigns and conservation