Skip to content
Cao vit gibbon. © Ryan Deboodt

Cao vit gibbon. © Ryan Deboodt

Using situational crime prevention to address illegal wildlife trade: a toolkit


Tool Illegal wildlife trade

    A novel approach to tackling the illegal wildlife trade

    Illegal wildlife trade is one of the most pressing threats to our planet’s biodiversity, and a wide variety of people and organisations – from individuals and community groups to NGOs and government agencies – are focusing efforts and resources on tackling this complex problem.

    Drawing on lessons learned from effective approaches to tackling non-wildlife crime, including terrorism and drug trafficking, Fauna & Flora has been exploring the potential of situational crime prevention to discover whether this approach from criminology could yield similar success in tackling illegal wildlife trade.

    Broadly speaking, situational crime prevention is a proactive approach that aims, through careful analysis of the unique context of the illegal activity in question, to prevent this activity from taking place. In the case of illegal hunting or harvest of wildlife species, this means preventing biodiversity damage altogether, rather than detecting and punishing the irreparable harm once it has already occurred.

    Yellow-naped amazon. © Ondrej Prosicky / Adobe Stock

    Yellow-naped amazon. © Ondrej Prosicky / Adobe Stock

    Yellow-naped amazon.

    A toolkit for conservation practitioners

    Working hand-in-hand with leading criminologists and with a number of our field-based conservation teams, we have created a toolkit that explains in detail how situational crime prevention works and outlines a comprehensive process that guides conservation practitioners through applying this approach to the problem they are facing.

    The toolkit also includes useful resources such as templates, group activities, presentations and facilitator notes that can help teams work effectively together to design, implement and monitor a situational crime prevention approach to tackle their illegal wildlife trade problem.

    Inside the toolkit

    • Toolkit – Using situational crime prevention to address illegal wildlife trade (PDF)
    • Supplementary materials:
      • Toolkit Templates (PDF)(Word)
      • Case Study template (PDF)(Word)
      • PowerPoint slides: How to develop a crime script (for use with Tool 1 in the toolkit)
      • PowerPoint slides: How to develop targeted interventions (for use with Tool 3 in the toolkit)

    Situational crime prevention is a tried and tested approach that could enable us to be more effective at addressing illegal wildlife trade. We invite you to apply this toolkit to build targeted, evidence-based interventions to prevent the irreparable harm caused by illegal wildlife trade.

    We would also value your feedback on the toolkit – did you find it useful and easy to follow? Did it help you reduce the illegal wildlife trade problem you were facing? Please do send your feedback and questions to [email protected], using our case study template (PDF or Word, and in any language).

    Workshop series

    In 2022/2023 Fauna & Flora ran a four part webinar series discussing how learning from criminology and crime science can be applied in conservation, funded by the UK Government through the Illegal Wildlife Trade Challenge Fund. You can watch the series below.

    Innovative partnerships: How criminologists and conservationists are testing new approaches to wildlife crime.
    Learn more about how Restorative Justice has been trialled in response to wildlife crime in South Africa from Dr Annette Hübschle (University of Cape Town) and Ashleigh Dore (Endangered Wildlife Trust).

    How can we deter people from wildlife crime? Thinking beyond prisons.
    Rachel Boratto (Monitor Conservation Research Society) and Michelle Newberry (University of Southampton) will explore whether wildlife crime offenders are deterred by tough punishments and gain insights from prisoner interviews in Malawi.

    Situational crime prevention: What is it and how does it work for wildlife crime?
    Aditya Malgaonkar from PANTHERA discusses the use of situational crime prevention for wildlife crime and presents how they addressed the use of leopard skins at ceremonial gatherings in southern Africa.

    Beyond seizures and prosecution: What does success look like in preventing wildlife crime?
    We discuss how we can measure the effectiveness of our wildlife crime interventions. We delve into a case study from Southern Sumatra, presented by Dr Willy Marthy (WCS Indonesia) focusing on how the team addressed the problem of illegal snaring in Way Kambas National Park, which was harming critically endangered Sumatran tigers and targeted ungulate species, such as deer and pigs.