The chance to afford greater protection to nearly six hundred species of wildlife was the focus of this year’s CITES CoP19 (Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora at the nineteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties), which took place in Panama this month.
Over the last century, the wild tiger population has fallen to alarmingly low levels. While tigers are adversely affected by climate change, habitat loss, and human-wildlife conflict, the illegal tiger trade is believed to be the most imminent threat.
I was honoured to be invited to share reflections on the fight against wildlife crime at the recent United for Wildlife Global Summit in my capacity as the Executive Director of the Wildlife Justice Commission and I would like to take the opportunity to share those reflections also in this blog.
The Wildlife Justice Commission published a new threat assessment, on the current state of rhino horn trafficking and efforts to fight it over the past decade: 'Rhino horn trafficking as a form of transnational organised crime (2012–2021): 2022 Global Threat Assessment.'
From the Wildlife Justice Commission comes the first-ever in-depth analysis of a real-life investigation into the dark underbelly of wildlife crime. Our new original podcast series: “Wildlife kingpin: 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.
The Wildlife Justice Commission delivered the last of three targeted capacity-building courses, focusing on strengthening intelligence gathering and cybercrime investigations to the Sabah Wildlife Department and Sabah Forestry Departments in Malaysia.
The Wildlife Justice Commission has published a report on the rise and fall of one of Vietnam’s biggest wildlife traffickers. Nguyen Van Nam, referred to in the report as Ah Nam, was the focus of a Wildlife Justice Commission investigation from 2016 until 2019.
Law enforcement agencies globally must address rhino horn trafficking as a form of transnational organised crime along with an increased focus on the higher level actors in the rhino horn supply chain. This was the key message that emerged from a joint webinar hosted by WWF South Africa and the Wildlife Justice Commission to mark World Rhino Day 2022.
I recently had the honour of speaking at the United Nations Ocean Conference in Lisbon in my capacity as the Executive Director of the Wildlife Justice Commission – specifically on Sustainable Development Goal 14.
In June and July 2022, the Wildlife Justice Commission conducted four tailored training courses for law enforcement agencies in Mozambique and South Africa.
The Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime (GI-TOC) joined the Wildlife Justice Commission in co-organising a session about innovative responses that target different stages in international trafficking flows.
The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) announced today that they have arrested eight suspects connected with the trafficking of pangolin scales and ivory from Nigeria.
On 27 July 2022, the Wildlife Justice Commission provided support to the Serviço Nacional de Investigação Criminal (SERNIC) during the arrest of a well-known rhino horn trafficker, Simon Valoyi, also known as Navara. The Wildlife Justice Commission acknowledges the outstanding work of SERNIC in bringing this suspect to justice.
The Wildlife Justice Commission, together with Sri Lanka, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and United Nations Ocean Decade co-organised a side event on 29 June on “Crime, corruption, and environment: a criminal justice approach for ocean action and achieving SDG 14”.
In 2021, the Wildlife Justice Commission sent a strong message that the risk/reward ratio for wildlife crime is changing by facilitating the arrests of 32 high-level wildlife trafficking suspects and seizure of one of the largest seizures of pangolin scales since 2019.
To strengthen the legal approach to wildlife crime in the Golden Triangle Region, the Wildlife Justice Commission, in collaboration with WWF, provided a training to local prosecutors and forestry officials in Lao PDR to improve their knowledge base and introduce them to a set of techniques that would allow for more efficient prosecution of wildlife crime.
The past few decades, we have not only witnessed a rise in environmental crime, but also its convergence with other forms of organised crime like the trafficking of humans, drugs and firearms. These facts set the starting point of a panel discussion held during the 31st session of the CCPCJ.
On 19 May 2022, Olivia Swaak-Goldman, Executive Director of the Wildlife Justice Commission, took the floor during the plenary of the 31st Session of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (CCPJC), which is taking place this week (16-20 May) in Vienna.
On 26 April 2022, the Wildlife Justice Commission’s successful operations in Thailand continued with the arrest of a man suspected of trafficking live pangolins and other protected wildlife in the Yala province, in south Thailand, and the seizure of a live pangolin.
A joint investigation conducted by officers of the Royal Thai Police and the Wildlife Justice Commission resulted in the arrest of three men suspected of involvement in a big cats trafficking network in Thailand and the Greater Mekong Region.
Oak Foundation has awarded the Wildlife Justice Commission a grant of EUR 1,260,000 to support its mission in the coming 3 years, to disrupt and help dismantle the criminal networks that profit from the trafficking of wildlife.
To effectively disrupt and dismantle organised environmental crime, it is important to target the systemic corruption enabling it. This was the main conclusion of a recent three-part webinar series, organised by the Wildlife Justice Commission and the International Anti-Corruption Academy.
Organised wildlife crime rakes in billions of dollars in revenue each year. To raise awareness of the pressing need for governments to address these crimes, Olivia Swaak-Goldman appeared the Financial Crime Matters podcast by ACAMS.
Financial motives drive organised environmental crimes. To help law enforcement agencies 'follow the money', the Wildlife Justice Commission will co-host an online panel discussion with France, titled ‘Addressing illicit financial flows derived from crimes that affect the environment: Good practices and challenges.’
Acting on local intelligence, the Nigeria Customs Service conducted an operation in Awoyaya on 2 February 2022, arresting four suspects and seizing 839.40 kilograms of pangolin scales and 145 kilograms of elephant ivory.
The Wildlife Justice Commission released a new report on China’s largest ivory smuggling case, detailing the inner workings of a wildlife crime syndicate and what it took to bring it down. Discover the complexity of transnational organised crime and learn useful insights for law enforcement.
To strengthen their legal approach to wildlife crime in the notorious Golden Triangle Region, the Wildlife Justice Commission is collaborating with WWF to provide judicial training for local prosecutors.
As an organisation, 2021 was our most successful year since our founding in 2015. Much of our efforts in previous years came to fruition, and we played a crucial role in major arrests in Thailand and Nigeria.
The Wildlife Justice Commission has launched a new briefing paper about China’s largest ever ivory trafficking case and is hosting a side event - Tackling corruption linked to environmental crime - with Belgium, France, and the UNODC at the upcoming CoSP to UNCAC to discuss its findings.
Our Director of Intelligence, Sarah Stoner, recently spoke at TEDxVitosha about the trafficking of pangolins, organised wildlife crime, and the role of intelligence analysis.
The Wildlife Justice Commission is concerned by the sheer amount of mammoth ivory products for sale on Chinese e-commerce sites. Mammoth ivory may perpetuate the demand for elephant ivory. More research is needed to understand the supply chain.
Arcadia has awarded the Wildlife Justice Commission a grant of EUR 1,000,000 to support its core operations in the coming five years, bolstering its mission to disrupt and help dismantle the transnational criminal networks trading in wildlife, timber, and fish.
Giant clam shell seizures in the Philippines have risen sharply in both frequency and volume over the past three years. The scale of these seizures points towards the involvement of organised crime. Our latest report takes a closer look at the evolving dynamics of the giant clam shell trade.
This new operation follows up on the one effected last July into the criminal network believed to be responsible for more than 50% of the major global ivory and pangolin seizures between 2018-2021.
Environmental crimes facilitated by corruption have far-reaching impacts on society. The Wildlife Justice Commission and the International Anti-Corruption Academy will host a series of panel discussions to build greater understanding of this nexus and how to effectively address it.
The Wildlife Justice Commission has announced the appointment of Susi Zijderveld as new Chair of the organisation’s Supervisory Board, effective on 10 September 2021.
During a presentation at the IUCN World Conservation Congress, the Wildlife Justice Commission championed the use of an intelligence-led approach to combat fisheries crime and protect marine biodiversity.
The Wildlife Justice Commission congratulates the Nigeria Customs Service for this successful operation, the ninth largest pangolin scale seizure in three years.
Tigers in Southeast Asia are endangered; intelligence analysis of crime convergence is a vital tool to safeguard them.
The Wildlife Justice Commission congratulates the SAPS on this successful operation in South Africa.
The Wildlife Justice Commission was joined on 17 June by a panel of experts for a high-level online discussion: Crime convergence: intelligent approaches to organised crime.
The Wildlife Justice Commission recently participated in an official UNGASS 2021 online side event, Leveraging the best tools to address environmental crime enabled by corruption.
Join our panel of experts on 17 June for a discussion about the convergence of wildlife crime with other forms of organised crime.
The Wildlife Justice Commission’s new report demonstrates that wildlife crime is a cross-cutting criminal activity which cannot be tackled in isolation from other crimes.
EUR 1.9 million granted to build and strengthen intelligence capacity to fight wildlife crime in protected areas of Southeast Asia.
At the 14th UN Crime Congress, the Wildlife Justice Commission will highlight the urgency to tackle wildlife trafficking as what it is: transnational organised crime.
The Wildlife Justice Commission congratulates the Royal Thai Police and the USFWS on the arrest of a suspected high-level wildlife trafficker in Bangkok.
In 2020, Wildlife Justice Commission investigators were offered staggering quantities of pangolin scales, raising concerns about a post-COVID19 surge in trafficking.
In 2020, the Wildlife Justice Commission adapted quickly to COVID-19 restrictions to continue disrupting criminal networks, bridging the intelligence gap, growing our influence, and strengthening alliances.
Wildlife crime is believed to intersect with other transnational organised crimes. Our webinar with UNODC and our new briefing paper expose how intelligence analysis can lead to a greater understanding of this crime convergence.
Register here to join our high-level online event on 16 October 2020 at 10h00 CEST.
Data from our investigations indicates a declining trend in the value of raw ivory since 2017 while trafficking persists, with criminal networks able to smuggle large quantities despite COVID-19 restrictions.
International cooperation is needed to drive an intelligence-led law enforcement approach to deter the trafficking of ivory across the region, says the organisation
Findings of our Operation Jeopardy expose the need for international and intelligence-led law enforcement cooperation to deter the trafficking of ivory across the region.
New paper by the Wildlife Justice Commission and Monitor on the role of intelligence to address the high-volume trafficking of the vulnerable Indian Star tortoise.
The Wildlife Justice Commission has released today an assessment on the impact that global measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 are having on wildlife trafficking dynamics.
Our new analysis Rapid assessment of the impact of COVID-19 on wildlife trafficking highlights that wildlife trafficking continues despite global travel restrictions and lockdown measures.
Following guidelines from Dutch authorities, we at the Wildlife Justice Commission have implemented a series of measures to protect our staff and contribute to the protection of others.
We hope that other governments recognise the importance of this legislative change and urge them to address wildlife crime as a serious organised crime.
Our new criminal intelligence analysis Scaling Up: The Rapid Growth in the Industrial Scale Trafficking of Pangolin Scales (2016-2019) has been published today on the run up to World Pangolin Day.
The Wildlife Justice Commission has released today, on the run up to Pangolin Day, the report Scaling Up: The Rapid Growth in the Trafficking of Pangolin Scales (2016-2019).
The Pangolin Crisis Fund has issued a grant to the Wildlife Justice Commission in support of our investigations into the trafficking of pangolin scales.
Summary of this year's highlights and successes
Using the most up-to-date data, our Ivory Snapshot Analysis shows changes in the criminal dynamics of the transnational trafficking of ivory.
The Vietnamese Environmental Police successfully arrested a suspect and seized 207 kg of ivory in Hanoi.
To mark International Women's Day, we are launching our first podcast with testimonies of women working to put an end to wildlife crime.
Debate on practical measures to address wildlife crime and the corruption that enables it at our event at the UN Headquarters.
A big thank you to the Dutch Postcode Lottery for granting the Wildlife Justice Commission with permanent beneficiary status and a EUR 500,000 donation.
Commonly referred to as the most trafficked mammal in the world, the plight of the pangolin looks bleak.
On 17 January, we convened our annual event for our partners in Amsterdam to update them on our current developments and plans for the near future.
The report details our Operation Dragon, a 2-year investigation (2016-2018) into the multi-million-dollar illegal trade of endangered reptile species in South and Southeast Asia and the scale of the corruption that enables it.
We were honoured and privileged to have him as a member of our Council, which he joined in February 2017.
An accurate view on the global trafficking of rhino horn. You can now watch Rhino Dollars online here.
Corruption is not tangential to Illegal Wildlife Trade but is a key facilitator of this organised crime...
This briefing paper summarises the data collected by the WJC during Operation Dragon (2016-2018) and subsequent analysis, aiming at directing further research to assess the extent to which these species are in demand globally.
This briefing paper provides an analysis of the price data of raw rhino horn in Africa and Asia, obtained until July 2018.
Event and Panel Discussion at the Illegal Wildlife Trade Conference: London 2018.
Future plans also include providing crime scene investigation, both advanced and one-day courses, which are crucial for first responders who are often first at the crime scene.
The two organisations have signed a memorandum of understanding to establish a framework for cooperation, develop joint endeavours and exchange information with regards to transnational wildlife crime.
We are very excited to announce that the WJC and the Kenya Wildlife Service have signed this week a Memorandum of Understanding establishing a joint project that seeks to effectively contribute to the dismantling and disrupting of transnational organised wildlife crime networks operating in Kenya.
We are delighted to announce our new partnership with leading Strathmore University of Kenya that establishes a mutual collaboration in the areas of research and training.
This year’s theme ‘Big Cats: Predators under threat’ is dedicated to celebrating the diversity of big cats and raise awareness on the threats to their survival. All big cats are precious and irreplaceable...
Solitary, shy, elusive and nocturnal, pangolins are rarely observed in the wild to the point that their population estimates are not clear, although conservationists do know that it is rapidly declining.
We are thrilled to announce that we are organising a one-day workshop Dismantling and disrupting criminal networks illegally trading in endangered wildlife at the General Police Equipment Exhibition and Conference (GPEC) on 21 February 2018.
The overall aim is to identify and date ebony species used in acoustic string instruments to distinguish illegally traded from legally traded wood.
The document presents the key findings or our 18-months investigation into the village of Nhi Khe, Viet Nam. It also discusses the outcome of efforts we undertook to establish a dialogue with the governments of Viet Nam and China and outlines the steps we took on the path of activating justice against the criminal network that our team identified.
One year after the WJC’s Public Hearing, it provides the Vietnamese government concrete evidence to collaboratively counter wildlife crime and notes progress in implementing Public Hearing recommendations.
It is not looking good for Rhinoceros. It is calculated that over 500,000 of these gentle giants roamed in the wild across Africa and Asia at the beginning of the 20th century.
This case study describes the dynamics of rhino horn trafficking in Nhi Khe (Vietnam) and the fluctuations of the value of raw rhino horn presented to our undercover operatives during the course of our field investigations.
The Wildlife Justice Commission has been selected as one of the four winners of this year’s edition of the NRC Charity Awards.