The following is a short summary of the Illegal Wildlife Trade, focussing on some of our most iconic species that are threatened.
The Summary is taken from a 20 Page Intelligence Briefing, which details how the Trade works, a current state threat assessment, available potential Red Flags and or Key Risk Indicators and what Financial Crime Fighters that are interested can do to help combat the IWT and protect themselves.
See below for a link to read / download the Intelligence Briefing.
Wildlife Trafficking endangers many species, with particular concern over iconic African mammals, such as the Elephant and the Rhino, but also the Pangolin, which is the most trafficked mammal of all, Gorillas, Big Cats, Reptiles, Birds (like the African Grey Parrot) and wildlife from outside Africa.
Wildlife Trafficking has been estimated to be worth $7 -23 billion annually, with Africa representing the source for up to 70% of the total value.
Wildlife Trafficking generates significant proceeds from Elephant, Rhino and Pangolin markets. The Elephant Ivory market is valued at approximately US$240 million to $720, with the Rhino market valued at between US$91 million and $698 million and for Pangolin’s the market is estimated at US$46 million annually
Wildlife Trafficking in Elephant Ivory, Rhino Horn and Pangolin Meat and Scales is undertaken alongside other crimes, not just those to facilitate the illicit trade like corruption and forgery of documents, and the killing of rangers, and by organised criminal gangs also involved in drugs, arms, goods and human trafficking as well as in some cases links have been drawn to terrorist groups operating in Africa
Wildlife Trafficking is often carried out using complex combinations of methods that exploit deficiencies in wildlife trade laws, forgery, violence, use of shell companies, and other money laundering techniques, and even cybercrime (specifically the hacking of government websites to obtain or forge permits). Most schemes involve the bribery of corrupt officials to obtain required permits, certificates, and other relevant documents to facilitate international trade, to enable safe passage, or to avoid prosecution and incarceration.
Wildlife Trafficking can be described around 3 phases: activity in source countries, transit and transportation and activities in destination countries.
Wildlife Trafficking is supercharged by demand from Asia, including China and SE Asia including Vietnam, not least due to some longstanding beliefs that ingredients in Traditional Chinese Medicine, have important medicinal properties, particular in the case of Rhino Horn and Pangolin Scales.
This Summary and the Intelligence Briefing has been compiled and reviewed by experts in fighting financial crime with particular experience on understanding and monitoring the Illegal Wildlife Trade, including from both the conservation and criminal justice sides as well as by professional Financial Crime Fighters from FI’s and other professions.
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