Wildlife trafficking on the rise, risking hope for biodiversity 

Wildlife crime is growing up to three times the rate of the global economy.  The illegal acquisition and consumption of wildlife are among the top global drivers of the decimation of some of the world’s most endangered species and a severe threat to the delicate balance between ecosystems and biodiversity.

While sometimes overlooked, law enforcement has a critical role to play in protecting endangered fauna and flora and, consequently, in safeguarding wider ecosystems and bringing about a greener future.

Wildlife and forestry crimes make up the world’s fourth largest illegal trade and INTERPOL works relentlessly to enable police forces in its 195 member countries to tackle wildlife crime from all angles and across all continents.

Linked with cyber and financial crime

Wildlife crime is rising five percent to seven percent annually, two to three times the growth rate of the global economy.

Borders do not restrict wildlife crime, nor lessen its consequences on climate change, biodiversity, security and public health. Endangered species, critical to the world’s ecosystem, are lucrative targets for the world’s transnational organized crime groups.

A truly global approach to tackling this threat is vital. INTERPOL’s environmental security program helps to disrupt and dismantle the networks involved in this illegal trade by assisting enforcement authorities on all continents to enforce national and international laws and treaties effectively.

Because wildlife crime is often linked with cyber and financial crime, INTERPOL provides member countries with the tools and databases required to follow key suspects along these crime paths, from detection to investigation, arrest, prosecution and conviction.

Criminals constantly adapt their modus operandi in attempts to avoid detection. By engaging with the entire wildlife sector and supply chain to identify and catalogue wildlife crime methods – and issuing INTERPOL Purple Notices – INTERPOL is able to help member countries stay one step ahead.

INTERPOL also coordinates global police operations that have brought many wildlife criminals to justice.  These operations help dismantle the networks behind environmental crime and have led to the seizure of tons of illicit wildlife products, including live endangered species.

Photo credit: iStock/ weerapatkiatdumrong

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