The Wildlife Justice Commission partners with Arcadia to disrupt and dismantle transnational wildlife crime

We are excited to announce that Arcadia, a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin, 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.

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The Wildlife Justice Commission is comprised of legal and law enforcement experts fighting transnational organised wildlife crime by working to disrupt and help dismantle the criminal networks driving the illegal wildlife trade. We do this by conducting undercover investigations and world-class intelligence analysis to gather verifiable evidence on the most prolific and impactful wildlife criminals. We work with local law enforcement partners to secure arrests which we follow through the court system to see justice done. Meanwhile, the Wildlife Justice Commission builds the capabilities of their partners to investigate and prosecute these cases on their own to effect a systemic change.

In just six years, the Wildlife Justice Commission has seen incredible results, helping to secure the arrests of 155 wildlife criminals, dismantling 35 criminal networks, and seizing tonnes of their product. This not only severely disrupts these criminal networks, but due to the interconnectedness of the international illegal wildlife trade, the impact extends across the region and globally and sends a message to criminals that the risk/reward ratio for wildlife crime is changing.

Protecting biodiversity and the delicate balance of the planet’s ecosystem is one of the most immediate effects of the Wildlife Justice Commission’s work. However, the impacts of environmental crime have far-reaching consequences, influencing climate change, public health, and international security and stability. The rule of law itself is undermined by the seeming impunity with which wildlife criminals operate at local, regional, and transnational levels and wildlife crime also converges with many other serious, organised crimes, like human and drug trafficking.

At the same time, wildlife crime depletes natural resources that local communities rely on for tourism and income generation, which might lead people into seeking alternative livelihoods like poaching, illegal fishing and illegal logging. COVID-19 remains a stark reminder of how environmental exploitation and wildlife crime facilitate the emergence of zoonotic diseases.

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.”

Dr Simon Chaplin, Chief Executive Officer, Arcadia

Dismantling organised crime networks and building capabilities of governments to effectively address wildlife crime on their own is a long-term investment.  

The Wildlife Justice Commission is in it for the long-haul, and now with this five-year core grant from Arcadia, we have the opportunity to scale our operational and organisational capacity and increase our impact across the globe. The grant from Arcadia will also support us to utilise our on-the-ground knowledge and expertise to influence policy and build the political will to address wildlife crime as a serious organised crime.” 

Olivia Swaak-Goldman, Executive Director, Wildlife Justice Commission

As part of this work, the Wildlife Justice Commission periodically publishes public reports or holds webinars on wildlife crime, or on the cross-cutting themes that compound wildlife crime, based on its intelligence and research. These reports and webinars are available free online, and any additional public materials produced under this grant will continue to be available at no charge to the public online.

Every successful collaboration with law enforcement, every arrest and seizure, every conviction and suitable sentencing, every policy point aimed at deterring wildlife crime, brings us a step closer to wildlife justice.  The Wildlife Justice Commission is incredibly grateful to Arcadia for this important support.

About Arcadia

Arcadia is a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin. It supports charities and scholarly institutions that preserve cultural heritage and the environment. Arcadia also supports projects that promote open access and all of its awards are granted on the condition that any materials produced are made available for free online. Since 2002, Arcadia has awarded more than $910 million to projects around the world.