Protecting the environment with intelligence

Welcome to the fight against the illegal wildlife trade

Arriving on the heels of what appears to be yet another record haul of smuggled ivory, this time in Malaysia, the London-based Environmental Investigation Agency is pleased to welcome today the release of the new study Fighting Illicit Wildlife Trafficking.

Malaysian officials with some of the ivory from the latest seizure (c) Bazuki Muhammad/Reuters

The study has been prepared by Dalberg Global Development Advisors, commissioned by WWF/Traffic, and its findings support the work we have been doing for decades to expose international environmental crime.

We are particularly pleased to see such large environmental organisations as the WWF and Traffic now devoting their attentions and resources to the critical issue of encouraging major players such as governments to see the illegal wildlife trade (which includes timber as well as animals) in its proper proportions.

Fighting Illicit Wildlife Trafficking concludes that the illegal trade in wildlife comprises the fourth largest global crime stream (after narcotics, counterfeiting of products & currency, and human trafficking), has become a lucrative business for criminal syndicates, and hinders social and economic development – facts EIA has been consistently exposing and addressing since the 1980s.

We are further encouraged to see that the study suggests a variety of solutions, including:
* improvements to the rule of law and the creating of meaningful deterrents;
* cross-ministerial collaboration within governments;
* adequate deployment of resources for enforcement;
* the ability to hold governments accountable for meeting commitments in respect of illegal wildlife trade
* urging governments to address corruption as a priority.

The study further advocates the need for governments to implement demand reduction campaigns; although EIA is broadly supportive of work to reduce consumer demand for illegal wildlife products, it believes such policies will only work hand-in-hand with international agreements of zero tolerance for such products and the categorical abolition of all locally legalised trades where they exist.

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