The Problem

Wildlife Crime

Serious wildlife crime is organised, transnational, is fuelled by corruption, and has a devastating impact on wildlife, local communities, national economies, security, public health and entire ecosystems. Of all the known threats to wildlife, the illegal taking, trade and consumption of wildlife is one of the most destructive and destabilising.

Despite the severe impacts of such crimes, we do not have a global agreement on wildlife crime and existing wildlife trade laws are not adequately enforced.

Wildlife trade

Scientific research indicates that COVID-19 was most likely transmitted to humans from its reservoir host, a horseshoe bat, via another intermediate host species, possibly a racoon dog or pangolin. We know that past pandemics have been caused by wildlife-related zoonotic diseases and the conditions that make spillover from animals to humans more likely.

Despite the risks to public health and animal health of high-risk wildlife trade, markets and consumption habits, current wildlife trade laws do not take account of public or animal health issues.

000,000,
000

199

Transnational wildlife crime worth is estimated at up to US$199 billion annually

000,000,
000

7-12

Wildlife crime may deprive governments of as much as US$7-12 billion in revenues each year

000,000,
000,000

1-2

Wildlife crime has an estimated full global economic value of between US$1-2 trillion per year

Nature is in unprecedented decline

A million species are at risk of extinction

Biodiversity loss exacerbates climate change

Overexploitation of wildlife is a major driver of species decline

Wildlife exploitation increases human health risks

Wildlife can be exploited by criminals along the entire supply chain

OUR RESPONSE

The Global Initiative to “End Wildlife Crime” aims to encourage States to fill serious gaps in international and national law by advocating for and offering technical support towards the:

a) creation of an additional protocol covering wildlife trafficking under the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organised Crime;
b) full implementation of United Nations resolutions on tackling illicit wildlife trafficking;
c) inclusion of public health and animal health criteria in relevant international conventions and processes, including through the development and implementation of a robust Pandemic Agreement; and
d) adoption of measures at national level to minimise the risk of pathogen spillover at source (primary prevention).

*Updated in April 2024

Steve Winter ©PHOTOGRAPHERS AGAINST WILDLIFE CRIME TM
Steve Winter ©PHOTOGRAPHERS AGAINST WILDLIFE CRIME TM

Create a new global agreement on wildlife crime.

UNTOC Wildlife Protocol

Preventing future zoonotic outbreaks by adopting a One Health approach to wildlife trade and markets

Pandemics Instrument

The initial preference of End Wildlife Crime was to amend CITES, given its well-established governance and permitting processes, and the impact it has on national legislation. It was, however, a big step for CITES to broaden its focus after 50 years, and it did not find favor with parties, as well as some observers, including over a concern that opening CITES for these amendments could open it to others. While End Wildlife Crime maintains this initial proposal on its webpage, and it did support the adoption of relevant decisions under CITES and CBD, it is now fully focussed on supporting the negotiation of a Pandemics instrument under the WHO, which, as a new instrument, may offer even greater scope for advancing a One Health approach to wildlife trade and markets.

PROGRESS

Global Agreement on Wildlife Crime

Since its launch in June 2020, the Global Initiative to End Wildlife Crime has supported the adoption of a new global agreement on tackling illicit wildlife trafficking, taking the form of an additional Protocol to the UN Convention against Transnational Organised Crime (UNTOC). What progress has there been so far and what more needs to be done?

2021 2024

Pandemics Treaty

The Initiative will continue to engage in the development of the proposed International Pandemics Instrument under the auspices of the World Health Organisation, advocating for such an instrument to incorporate a strong focus on primary prevention, the adoption of a One Health approach across all relevant activities, and specific obligations and a highly precautionary approach regarding any wildlife trade, markets and consumption that could pose a risk to human or animal health. To this end the Global Initiative is working with its partners to identify and promote risk assessment methodologies.

WHO WE ARE

End Wildlife Crime (EWC) is an alliance of individuals and organisations that support the need for these law reforms. It is hosted by the ADM Capital Foundation, overseen by a small steering group, and is chaired by John Scanlon AO, former Secretary General of CITES.

The steering group comprising ADM Capital Foundation, African Wildlife Foundation, Born Free Foundation, Freeland, Global Environmental Institute, the International Conservation Caucus Foundation (ICCF) and the Food and Land Use Coalition (represented by Systemiq), provide structured guidance.

Special advisers provide subject matter support, including Neil Harvey, executive chairman of ADM Capital, adviser on private sector engagement, Craig Hoover, Executive Vice President of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums,  advisor on CITES and Gilda Moratti, adviser on partnerships. EWC is also generously supported by the Pangolin Crisis Fund.

The initiative also draws on technical support from a range of experts and images from the Photographers Against Wildlife Crime. In addition, it has created an International Champions to End Wildlife Crime network for interested organisations to participate.

End Wildlife Crime’s starting point is that the status quo is not an option. Transformative change is required to international laws to address global biodiversity, climate, development, public and animal health challenges.

Alexander Rhodes

Head of Mishcon Purpose

Mishcon de Reya

Marcus Asner

Partner

Arnold & Porter

Christina Voigt

Chair elect

IUCN World Commission on Environmental Law

Daniel Kachelriess

Independent Expert

Dr Angus Nurse BA (Hons) MSc LLM PhD SFHEA

Associate Professor

Department of Criminology and Sociology, Middlesex University

Edward Davey

Director, Partnerships and Engagement, Food and Land Use Coalition, World Resources Institute

Greta F. lori

Director, Programme Development,

EPI Foundation

Jeffrey Phillips

Managing Director

Dawson Strategic

Noah Arshinoff

Founder and Managing Director

ACT International

Olivia Swaak-Goldman

Executive Director

Wildlife Justice Commission

Peter Woolcott AO

Former Senior Australian Diplomat and Public Service Commissioner

Professor Dirk Pfeiffer

Professor of Veterinary Epidemiology, Royal Veterinary College

Chair Professor of One Health, City University Hong Kong

Professor Tanya Wyatt

Department of Social Sciences

Northumbria University

Sarah M. W. Maston

Special Adviser on Technology

Founder of Project 15 from Microsoft

International Champions

To End Wildlife Crime

Responding to a high-level of interest shown in the Initiative in July 2020, the Steering Group created a International Champions to End Wildlife Crime network who:

  • Support our Statement of Purpose
  • Advance the objectives of the Initiative within their organisations sphere of influence

The founding Champions were, ADM Capital, the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA),  the Treadright Foundation, the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) and the Wildlife Justice Commission (WJC), and the network has now grown to over 30 organisations.

Current Champions

Founding Champion

Founding Champion

Founding Champion

Founding Champion

Learn more

END WILDLIFE CRIME

business as usual is not an option

Credit: Charlie Hamilton James ©PHOTOGRAPHERS AGAINST WILDLIFE CRIME TM

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Zheng Xiaoqun ©PHOTOGRAPHERS AGAINST WILDLIFE CRIME TM
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Chris Packham ©PHOTOGRAPHERS AGAINST WILDLIFE CRIME TM
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Brent Stirton ©PHOTOGRAPHERS AGAINST WILDLIFE CRIME TM
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Adam Oswell ©PHOTOGRAPHERS AGAINST WILDLIFE CRIME TM
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Adrian Steirn ©PHOTOGRAPHERS AGAINST WILDLIFE CRIME TM

SUPPORT US

SUBSCRIBE TO THE GLOBAL INITIATIVE TO END WILDLIFE CRIME

STATEMENT OF PURPOSE

The Steering Group invites any organisations, or individuals that support the objectives of End Wildlife Crime to publicly express their support by signing onto the Initiative.

  • We will keep your details secure and will not share them with 3rd parties.
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RESOURCES

Latest News & Events

Open Letter

Open Letter on Pandemic Prevention and Wildlife Trade

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Champion Resources

League of American Orchestras: Know Your Bow, Tips for Owners and Users of Pernambuco Bows

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Champion Resources

League of American Orchestras: CITES Travel Tips for Endangered Species Material

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Report

Information and discussion session on One Health in the pandemic instrument: workshop report

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Article

Is CITES Compliance Process Becoming a Game of Chance?

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Blog

UNFCCC COP28 Recap: Drawing the link between Wildlife Crime and Climate Change

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Blog

CITES SC77 Side Event Recap: Making the Case for a New Global Agreement

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Blog

UN CCPCJ RECAP: EWC AT THE 32ND SESSION OF THE UN COMMISSION ON CRIME PREVENTION AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE

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Event

EVENT – STRENGTHENING THE INTERNATIONAL LEGAL FRAMEWORK AGAINST ILLICIT WILDLIFE TRAFFICKING

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Opinion

1ST MEETING OF THE COMMITTEE OF EXPERTS ON THE PROTECTION OF THE ENVIRONMENT THROUGH CRIMINAL LAW (PC-ENV)

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