The Wildlife Justice Commission publishes its 2023 Annual Report

The Wildlife Justice Commission is thrilled to announce the publication of its 2023 Annual Report, highlighting a year of remarkable achievements. Throughout 2023, our unwavering commitment to disrupting transnational criminal networks involved in wildlife trafficking led to significant successes in countries such as Nigeria, South Africa, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Malaysia, where we played a crucial role in facilitating substantial arrests. 

Our relentless efforts and cooperation with our law enforcement partners resulted in the arrest of 26 suspects, including high-level individuals and corrupt officials, effectively disrupting at least 10 criminal networks. Among our key achievements, was the conviction, on wildlife crime charges, of three high-ranking Vietnamese members of an organised criminal group involved in trafficking ivory, pangolin scales, rhino horn, and lion bones from Nigeria, Mozambique, and South Africa to Vietnam. These individuals were arrested by the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) in 2022, based on information provided by the Wildlife Justice Commission.  

Additionally, the prosecution and conviction of Teo Boo Ching, one of the largest wildlife traffickers globally, specialising in transporting rhino horn, ivory, and pangolin scales from Africa to Southeast Asia, in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, marked a significant milestone. Our role was crucial in his arrest, and we are proud to have contributed to the investigation and to have supported the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) in this operation.  

This year also marked the expansion of our global reach by establishing in country presence in the United States of America and in Thailand, further solidifying our efforts to combat wildlife crime globally. 

Cooperation was at the heart of our 2023 efforts. We actively engaged in alliances such as United for Wildlife, the Nature Crime Alliance, the Global Initiative to End Wildlife Crime, and continued to chair the UNCAC Coalition’s Working Group on Environmental Crime and Corruption. We worked with governments at the multilateral level, attending multiple fora to combat transnational wildlife crime. These partnerships have been instrumental in influencing policy and building political will to combat wildlife crime. 

We also kept our law enforcement and policy makers informed through the publication of two reports offering comprehensive insights into our investigative findings and intelligence analysis. The first report, expands on the role of corruption in enabling wildlife crime while the second is a 2023 update on the convergence of wildlife crime with other forms of organised crime, building on our first crime convergence report published in 2021, and illustrating the varied ways that wildlife crime overlaps with other forms of serious organised crimes.    

Our capacity building initiatives continued unabated this year. Through Project Galvanise, we continued empowering key partners to produce actionable intelligence, which supports law enforcement agencies, non-governmental organisations, and other stakeholders in several countries in Southeast Asia by enhancing their capacity to conduct intelligence analysis.  

We extend our deepest gratitude to our donors and partners. Your unwavering support has been vital to our mission of combating wildlife crime and stopping the destruction of our biodiversity for profit. Together, we look forward to achieving even greater impact in 2024.