Demonstrating the ongoing commitment of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) to combat wildlife crime, three suspected wildlife traffickers were apprehended in Nigeria on 4 February 2024, with a fourth arrest made on 6 February 2024. This successful operation was a joint intelligence-led investigation by the NCS and the Wildlife Justice Commission, targeting illicit wildlife supplier networks.
About the Wildlife Justice Commission
The following short film explains how the Wildlife Justice Commission works, what type of organised criminal networks we investigate and why we do what we do. See Our Work.
Our mission is to disrupt and help dismantle the criminal networks that profit from the trafficking of wildlife, timber and fish, a major crime that brings species to extinction and puts global security and public health at risk.
2023 was an outstanding year for the Wildlife Justice Commission, marked by significant achievements. Our unwavering commitment to disrupt and help dismantle transnational criminal networks involved in wildlife trafficking led to notable successes in countries such as Nigeria, Mozambique, Indonesia, and Malaysia, where we played a crucial role in facilitating substantial arrests. We considerably extended our global reach and continued sharing our expertise with law enforcement, policy makers, and practitioners worldwide.
The Wildlife Justice Commission is dedicated to advocating for solutions to address corruption. In pursuit of this objective, we participated in the 10th session of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) Conference of the States Parties (CoSP) in Atlanta last week.
The Wildlife Justice Commission is launching a new podcast in the Wildlife Kingpin series. Following on from “Wildlife Kingpin: The Rise and Fall of Ah Nam”, comes “Operation Dragon”. This second series sheds light on the investigation conducted by the Wildlife Justice Commission that brought to justice some of the biggest turtle and tortoise traffickers in Southeast Asia.
To skin a cat:
how organised crime capitalises and exploits captive tiger facilities
operation in Nigeria
Rhino horn trafficking as a form of transnational organised crime
“Virtually every country in the world is somehow involved in wildlife trafficking, either as source, supply, transit or demand country. It is vital to recognise wildlife trafficking as transnational organised crime and that it should be addressed as such by law enforcement agencies worldwide. The Wildlife Justice Commission brings to the forefront the urgency for all governments to play their part in the fight against wildlife crime before vulnerable species are lost forever!”
Founder - the Jane Goodall Institute & UN Messenger of Peace
“The Wildlife Justice Commission has been of great help to us in Nigeria, developing the intelligence of customs officers, particularly building on what we had, but we did not know that we could use. And that has changed the story. We don’t stop at just making the arrests anymore. We now continue investigations, using the records to gather more intel and make further arrests. The WJC also assisted in how to build a good case file for prosecution, supported by strong evidence. Thanks to the WJC, we’ve been able to make numerous interceptions and secure convictions. And I can bet you we’ve only just started.”
Nigeria Customs Service
“The worst wildlife crimes are transnational in their context and those committing them act with impunity worldwide. Effective prevention and responses, therefore, should have a crucial transnational strategy and component. The Wildlife Justice Commission fulfils a fundamental function, contributing to the prevention of, and justice for, wildlife crimes.”
Former President of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights
“The Wildlife Justice Commission has built perhaps the best intelligence and investigative capacity in relation to illegal wildlife trade in the world. It has been instrumental in the arrests of more than 40 wildlife criminals, most of them level 3 criminals or above; it is working with a wide range of law enforcement agencies and has helped improve the seriousness with which wildlife crime is taken in key trading and market countries such as Malaysia and Vietnam.”
“Having served on the Wildlife Justice Commission’s council from 2015 through 2020, it has been a pleasure to closely follow its growth from a small NGO with a unique approach in fighting wildlife crime to the impactful organisation that it has become in 2023. The Wildlife Justice Commission’s work proved to be extremely effective and has disrupted wildlife trafficking in many countries across the globe. I can not wait to see what the next chapter might bring as it expands its operations into fisheries crime.”
Former Member of the European Parliament, author and environmental campaigner
“I was honored that the Wildlife Justice Commission selected me to present the results of its investigation during the 2016 Public Hearing in The Hague. I was delighted to learn that the Wildlife Justice Commission’s investigators had assembled an overwhelming case, with a meticulous and professional attention to detail. The Wildlife Justice Commission’s collection of evidence was as thorough and as well-presented as any I received while serving as a federal prosecutor at the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.”
Partner at Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer
“Project Galvanise has been a fantastic opportunity for my trainee analysts to focus on learning analytical theory and practical tools and techniques, as well as to build relationships with other analysts in the region. This training is invaluable to their development and is a great support to our project, providing specialist training from WJC experts that the analysts might not otherwise have access to. I consider it a privilege to be a Steering Group member and a part of this project.”
Lead Analyst at Sabah Wildlife Department / Danau Girang Field Centre Intelligence Unit, Project Galvanise Steering Group member
“[The Wildlife Justice Commission] has unquestionably been able to disrupt criminal networks involved in wildlife crime to an extent never done by an NGO before.”
“The Wildlife Justice Commission in The Hague, which maintains a remarkable intelligence network tracking the trade, has warned that criminals are stockpiling material and that lockdown is allowing poachers in sub-Saharan Africa a free rein. There is an overwhelming moral and environmental case for a multilateral effort to stifle this business. It is also worth remembering that Ebola, HIV, Sars, H1N1, Mers and Sars-CoV-2 are all reportedly zoonotic diseases, which jumped species because of intense proximity between humans and the original carriers. We must now recognise a hitherto relatively unimportant branch of organised criminal activity has the capacity to bring the entire world to a standstill.” Article published in The Guardian, 7 June 2020
Award-winning journalist, historian and author.
“One may consider illegal wildlife trade a soft underbelly of organised crime, but the network and associated cells perpetrating illegal wildlife trade are hard criminals. The intelligence collected and collated by the Wildlife Justice Commission therefore can be very useful to Law Enforcement Agencies in their investigations into other organised crimes and vice versa.”
Former Assistant Commissioner of Police (Operations) of the Hong Kong Police
“The activities of the Wildlife Justice Commission were a true revelation to me: innovative, focussed, daring, well-documented, alerting and mobilizing at the right time the official authorities. This approach has proved very successful. Supporting the Wildlife Justice Commission’s activities is a must for whoever is interested in fighting wildlife crime and protecting the planet for future generations.”
Former President of the Dutch Central Bank
“As the Wildlife Justice Commission says, it takes a network to defeat a network. Wildlife crime – where plants and animals are traded illegally – often overlaps with more widely known forms of organised crime. With the right partnerships and expertise, these networks can be obstructed. We are delighted to support the Wildlife Justice Commission’s efforts to protect biodiversity and empower those who are on the frontline tackling wildlife crime.”
Chief Executive Officer, Arcadia – a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin
“Oak Foundation is proud to continue providing core support to the Wildlife Justice Commission in its fight against transnational organised wildlife crime. We believe the work of the Wildlife Justice Commission is tremendously important in protecting our planet’s biodiversity. This is a critical component in countering climate change. It is time to act now.”
Trustee at Oak Foundation
“Perhaps most important of all, [the Wildlife Justice Commission] WJC has opened the eyes of many enforcement agencies to the value of intelligence and has inspired and encouraged them to build their own intelligence databases and analytical capacity.”
“In recent years WJC has had a significant impact on wildlife crime investigations in Vietnam, in an atmosphere where wildlife crime is taken much more seriously by the Vietnam Government. WJC’s capacity on intelligence analysis is highly relevant in the wildlife crime space, is welcomed by a number of enforcement agencies, particularly, Vietnam and Thailand, and has had a strong inputs to the wildlife crime capabilities of enforcement agencies in those countries.”
Regional Lead for Wildlife and Wildlife Crime, WWF Greater Mekong
“I am always thrilled to learn about the brilliant activities of the Wildlife Justice Commission. We should encourage watchful and dedicated leaders and actors to always deter organized wildlife crimes, as the Commission will continue its mission from now into the future as a giant step forward in the global fight for wildlife justice.”
President of UNICEF Korea, former President and Judge of the Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Court
Our work is only possible with support from partners and donors