Help us fight illegal wildlife trade

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The threat of illegal wildlife trade

In less than 50 years, we've seen a decline of 60% in population sizes of vertebrate species. Illegal wildlife trade directly threatens the survival of many species in the wild, where tigers are poached for their body parts, pangolins for their scales and elephants for their tusks. Many other species are also exploited, from rare wild birds to marine turtles.

Why do we need to end illegal wildlife trade?

Wildlife trade involves hundreds of millions of wild plants and animals from tens of thousands of species.

  • To reduce wildlife trafficking, which, when unmonitored and unregulated could create the risk of zoonotic diseases.
  • To preserve the natural balance of nature, as each species, no matter how small has an important role to play within the ecosystem.
  • To maintain viable populations of wildlife, as greater species diversity ensures natural sustainability for all life forms.

What if nothing is done?
The unseen threat

Human life depends on the existence of a functioning planet Earth. Careful and thoughtful use of wildlife species and their habitats is required to avoid not only extinction, but serious disturbances to the complex web of life.

  • The existence of illegal trade undermines efforts to protect our natural resources and brings to question the safety of our borders. Some trafficked species are likely obtained through environmentally damaging means. Traffickers attempt to conceal their crime in whatever means possible. More often than not illegal wildlife trade is linked to wildlife cruelty, smuggling, customs evasion and other illegal activities.
  • Indirectly, wildlife trade can also cause indirect harm when invasive species are introduced which then prey on, or compete with, native species. As village communities depend on local wild animals and plants for their daily sustenance, an imbalance in the natural ecosystem affects the community’s well-being in the long run.

How do we fight illegal wildlife trade?

WWF's range of expertise ensures that the threats to the environment from wildlife trade are tackled from an informed and global standpoint:

  • Advocate for stricter penalty for wildlife trade offenders .
  • Support the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
  • Tighten and enforce legislation to comply with CITES regulations by helping to develop programmes, create regulations, run workshops, assist enforcement efforts and fund anti-poaching.
  • Remove threats on the ground, such as deactivating snares which target large mammals.
  • Carry out research on illegal wildlife trade routes, study the effects of wildlife trade on particular species, and on deficiencies in wildlife trade laws.
  • Encourage cross-border cooperation.
  • Work with government agencies and schools to create public awareness.
  • Educate consumers to make informed choices when buying wildlife-based products.
  • Work with local communities to protect wildlife.