“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.”
Working to deter wildlife crime
Envisioning a world without wildlife crime because governments effectively enforce the law
The Wildlife Justice Commission works with the mission 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.
What We Do:
1. We conduct intelligence-led, law enforcement-oriented investigations
- Tackling the supply chain of ivory, rhino horn and pangolin scales from Africa to Asia.
- Saving species from the illegal live pet trade, investigating the massive global trafficking of endangered primates, exotic birds, big cat cubs and reptiles.
- Addressing the trafficking of big cat parts, with a close look into captive tiger breeding facilities and the trafficking of jaguar, lion and tiger parts.
2. We bridge the Intelligence Gap: The Intelligence Development Unit
We support international law enforcement cooperation by developing intelligence on transnational criminality and sharing it with national law enforcement agencies, helping to build the intelligence picture beyond their borders.
Our Intelligence Development Unit is the largest intelligence analysis team of an NGO focusing solely on wildlife crime and is the cornerstone of our work. We are currently supporting several law enforcement agencies with undercover and analytical support.
3. We urge governments to act
Making the fight against global wildlife crime a priority –at every level– is crucial to save species from extinction and to curb threats to global public health and security. We inform governments about wildlife crime dynamics for them to take action with the speed that the scale of these crimes demand and hold them accountable if they fail to do so.
4. We build sustainable solutions: Training and mentoring
In many countries, inadequate technical and human resources and capacity are major factors preventing effective law enforcement action on wildlife crime. To help bridge this gap, we support the capacity development of police units in several Asian and African countries.
The escalating trafficking of pangolin scales
Analysis of seizure data of smuggled pangolin scales during 2016-2019 shows a significant and rapid increase in the volume being trafficked. The findings and conclusions from our Intelligence Development Unit clearly point to organised crime networks operating on an industrial scale, which is rapidly expanding year on year, putting an entire species at risk.
“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.”
External independent evaluation commissioned by the Adessium Foundation
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.
“An efficient financial investigation requires, amongst other things, closer cooperation and collaborations among not only Law Enforcement Agencies but also with Financial Intelligence Units, financial institutions, and financial regulators. When criminal networks are getting more multi-commodity and less discriminating in their trade, Law Enforcement Agencies need to extend their intelligence sharing to non-Law Enforcement players, such as the Wildlife Justice Commission. 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.”