How does wildlife trafficking work?

Wildlife trafficking (the illegal poaching, taking, and/or trade of protected or managed species and their parts or products) removes millions of animals and plants from the wild annually. As many people know, this includes elephants and rhinos.

How does animal trafficking happen?

Not all wildlife trade is illegal. Wild plants and animals from tens of thousands of species are caught or harvested from the wild and then sold legitimately as food, pets, ornamental plants, leather, tourist ornaments and medicine.

What do animal traffickers do?

Definitions. Wildlife trafficking involves the illegal trade, smuggling, poaching, capture, or collection of endangered species, protected wildlife (including animals or plants that are subject to harvest quotas and regulated by permits), derivatives, or products thereof.

How does the illegal wildlife trade work?

Unsustainable and illegal wildlife trade | WWF. Each year, hundreds of millions of plants and animals are caught or harvested from the wild and then sold as food, pets, ornamental plants, leather, tourist curios, and medicine.

Where do trafficked animals go?

Under CITES guidelines, nations must send confiscated animals back to the exporting country, or to a “government-designated rescue center,” or other places deemed “appropriate.” CITES also directs countries to ensure humane treatment of the animals.

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What is the most illegally trafficked animal in the world?

Pangolins are believed to be the world’s most trafficked mammal, accounting for as much as 20% of all illegal wildlife trade. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), more than a million pangolins were poached in the decade prior to 2014.

What crimes do animal traffickers commit?

Poachers and traffickers have also been tied to murder, intimidation, bribery, organized crime, terrorism and a host of other threats that destabilize families, communities and national security.

Why we should stop poaching?

The most obvious reason why poaching needs to stop is the danger of certain species becoming wiped out forever. … Poaching does not only put the lives of animals at risk; it also poses a threat to the rangers who continually put their lives on the line, day in and day out, to try and protect these species.

Who investigates wildlife trafficking?

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) is identified as a lead or participating agency in all 24 Implementation Plan Objectives, reflecting the commitment and history of USFWS International Affairs and Office of Law Enforcement in the fight against the illegal wildlife trade.

How many animals are illegally trafficked each year?

Birds are the most common contraband; the State Department estimates that two million to five million wild birds, from hummingbirds to parrots to harpy eagles, are traded illegally worldwide every year. Millions of turtles, crocodiles, snakes and other reptiles are also trafficked, as well as mammals and insects.

What is being done to stop wildlife trafficking?

WWF is leading a global campaign to stop wildlife crime.

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Push governments to protect threatened animal populations by increasing law enforcement, imposing strict deterrents, reducing demand for endangered species products and honoring international commitments made under CITES.

Is poaching illegal everywhere?

This hunting method is illegal in California, Virginia, Connecticut, Florida, Michigan and Tennessee. Taking wildlife on land that is restricted, owned by or licensed to somebody else. The animal or plant has been tagged by a researcher.