Investigations

Intelligence-led, law enforcement-oriented operations

The Wildlife Justice Commission strongly believes that combining hard evidence through investigations with effective diplomacy will help governments bring the wildlife traffickers to account and put an end to the devastating illegal trade in endangered and vulnerable species.

Operating globally, our work reflects the transnational nature of the illegal wildlife trade and typically covers multiple countries within each investigation. When selecting a case, we seek to fulfil our mission to disrupt and help dismantle the criminal networks in order to achieve the highest impact.

Our investigations are at the basis of all our work. Meticulous, thoroughly and strictly planned and diligently documented, some take over two years to gather accurate, compelling and actionable evidence of the criminal activities of the networks trafficking wildlife. We make use of case management and intelligence analysis software employed by law enforcement agencies around the world. This allows us to provide our evidence and criminal analyses to law enforcement agencies in a format they are familiar with.

At the core of our work are our investigation team and undercover operatives. With a multidisciplinary background, the team is made up of former law enforcement officers from Australia, the US, the European Union and African and Asian countries and have over 600 years combined law enforcement experience in major case investigations, international wildlife trafficking investigation, surveillance, undercover and intelligence analysis. Our law enforcement experts also train law enforcement agencies in wildlife crime investigation techniques.

“We have seen the scale of destruction first hand and it is horrifying. But it makes us even more determined to make it our business to put an end to theirs.” Wildlife Justice Commission investigator

And unlike the wildlife organised crime syndicates, our ways of work are transparent and fair. All our investigators work with integrity and objectivity: those guiding principles form the basis of our investigation procedures.

We collaborate with local law enforcement agencies to conduct our investigations and gather evidence from the field. Among those who we can publicly acknowledge, are the:

  • Department of Wildlife and National Parks Peninsular Malaysia (PERHILITAN)
  • Environmental Police Department of Laos
  • Royal Thai Police Natural Resources and Environmental Crime Suppression Division (RTP NED)
  • Vietnamese Department of Environmental Police
  • India Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB)
  • Mozambique National Criminal Investigation Service (SERNIC)
  • Nigeria Customs Service (NCS)
  • South African Police Service (SAPS)
  • Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC)
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS)
  • Indonesian National Police (INP)

Wildlife Kingpin podcast series

Our original podcast series: “Wildlife Kingpin”, follows real-life investigations into the dark underbelly of wildlife crime. Season 1 – The Rise and Fall of Ah Nam, follows a team of investigators on the hunt for one of Asia’s biggest traffickers of elephant and rhino products. Season 2 – Operation Dragon, 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.

Get behind the scenes of our investigations and hear from investigators about the undercover operations and intelligence gathering that helped put these criminal behind bars.

For more about our investigation into Ah Nam, download and read our full report the Downfall of Vietnam’s Wolf of Wall Street.

To read more about our Operation Dragon investigation, download and read our report Operation Dragon: Revealing new evidence on the scale of corruption and trafficking in the turtle and tortoise trade.

A timeline of

Operation Dragon

Here you can see how Operation Dragon evolved over time during 2016-2018 and the results that it yielded. Click on the events through the timeline to read on the developments and watch the undercover videos obtained during the investigation, developed in close collaboration with Indian and Malaysian law enforcement agencies and with INTERPOL.

Latest News

Operation Ambush

Revealing new evidence on how organised crime capitalises and exploits captive tiger facilities