Illegal wildlife trade has long posed a genuine threat to biodiversity, including not only iconic animals such as elephants, rhinos, tigers and pangolins but also other less prominent species such as saiga, helmeted hornbills, geckos and rosewoods.
Recently, however, the exponential increase in demand for products such as ivory, rhino horn and tiger parts has created a market lucrative enough to attract international criminal networks. This has resulted in a wholesale assault on the world’s wildlife, which is decimating global biodiversity, threatening many species with extinction and plundering valuable natural assets that are ultimately worth more alive than dead, particularly to those who rely on natural resources for their very livelihood.
The potentially devastating effects of this unsustainable trade have begun to hit the headlines, focusing global attention on an issue that has been high on the agenda of Fauna & Flora International (FFI) since the 1970s, when we were instrumental in establishing TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network.
The illegal trade in wildlife is threatening our planet's remarkable biodiversity. Please join as a member today to help us keep wild populations safe and address the underlying causes of this urgent problem.
FFI itself has been at the forefront of efforts to tackle illegal wildlife trade for almost two decades. Our practical, field-based approach revolves around putting in place effective measures on the ground to safeguard wild populations of key species from poaching for illegal trade.
There are multiple strands to FFI’s approach to this complex global issue, but they all involve working closely with our established network of in-country partners in order to ensure that our interventions are appropriate to the local context and sustainable in the long term. In particular, we engage communities as active and motivated partners in species protection and law enforcement, not least by strengthening community rights and helping to ensure that they have a vested interest in safeguarding wildlife.
We focus on strategic long-term partnerships and collaborations with the institutions, groups and individuals who can have a significant influence on the illegal trade, either as consumers, businesses, policy makers, law enforcers or community leaders. And we place strong emphasis on building capacity, improving cooperation and encouraging information sharing in order to increase local effectiveness in cracking down on wildlife crime.
Rangers at Ol Pejeta with anti-poaching tracking dog. Credit: Juan Pablo Moreiras/FFI
In addition to strengthening law enforcement responses, FFI is working hard to prevent species being illegally taken from the wild in the first place. We are working with criminologists to learn what has been successful in tackling other forms of crime to find smarter ways of reducing opportunities for crime to occur. One area of untapped potential that has shown to be effective in reducing other forms of illegal activity is situational crime prevention (SCP). SCP is a proven approach to building more holistic and targeted strategies to remove opportunities for motivated individuals to act unlawfully. FFI is working to pioneer wider application and evaluation of SCP in conservation and to promote replication globally. By ensuring that the potential of SCP is fully realised, we can truly transform how we address wildlife poaching and trafficking.
The geographical spread of FFI’s work to combat illegal wildlife trade reflects our global remit. We are having a direct impact on the ground in Africa, the Americas, Asia-Pacific and Eurasia.
Meet Diego, an anti-poaching dog at Ol Pejeta Conservancy.
Saving turtles in Nicaragua by working with communities.
Union Island conservation initiative
Protecting rosewood from illegal logging in Belize
Conserving migrating raptors in western Georgia
Conserving Sumatran tigers in Kerinci Seblat National Park
Addressing the decline of critically endangered saiga antelope
Conserving marine turtles in the eastern Pacific of Nicaragua
FFI has played a pivotal role in safeguarding the future of an incredible variety of species all across the world. Learn more about our approach and why we have been so successful.
Rural communities often face significant barriers to developing ecologically sustainable, economically viable and socially acceptable livelihoods strategies.