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Wildlife Trade Specialists

Indian Pangolin Manis crassicaudata © Gerald Cubitt

achievements and impacts standing up for legal, sustainable wildlife trade since 1976

Indian Pangolin Manis crassicaudata © Gerald Cubitt

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conservation and sustainability successes

TRAFFIC has had, and continues to have, a significant global impact cracking down on illegal wildlife trafficking, and promoting legal, sustainable wildlife trade, to protect threatened species and benefit local communities.

Steven Broad, Executive Director

TRAFFIC has been making invaluable contributions to wildlife conservation for decades. Although there is still much to do, our past successes give us hope for the future.

Steven Broad, Executive Director

TRAFFIC's recent conservation achievement timeline

March 2019

TRAFFIC information assists Operation PRAESIDIO, led by the World Customs Organization, which impacts 41 countries and results in 125 arrests and 267 seizures, including close to 4 tonnes of ivory, 783 pangolins and a further 866kg of scales and parts, 4,819 turtles and tortoises, 296 pythons, 43kg of rhino horn, and 113 live parrots.

TRAFFIC’s Wildlife Trade Information System, used to underpin our analysis and inform law enforcement and anti-money laundering worldwide, passes 160,000 data records of trafficking incidents, locations, species, and persons of interest.

March 2018

TRAFFIC and partners WWF and IFAW launch the first ever Global Coalition to End Wildlife Trafficking Online in response to mounting evidence showing that illegal trade is shifting from physical to online markets.

The coalition brings together over 20 tech giants including Tencent, Facebook and eBay who have committed to deterring illegal wildlife trade on their platforms. We are working towards an 80% reduction in illegal wildlife trade on these platforms by 2020.

January 2018

The domestic ivory ban comes into force in China, the world's largest consumer of elephant ivory. TRAFFIC provides technical support in implementing the decision, and continues close monitoring to ensure this translates into positive results for elephants.

January 2018

The Hong Kong Legislative Council votes overwhelmingly in favour of a bill that will end local ivory trade. In the run-up to the decision TRAFFIC had published a report, Closing Strategy, encouraging the Hong Kong SAR government to implement measures to tackle illegal ivory trade. TRAFFIC also participated in consultations encouraging a rapid phase-out of the domestic ivory market.

November 2017

Illegal fishing, unregulated trade and rampant over-exploitation of our oceans and fisheries is threatening species of sharks, rays, tuna and many more.

TRAFFIC, WWF and Hewlett Packard launch Detect IT: Fish, a free online tool, for Customs, conservationists and enforcement agencies to help identify illegal or unsustainable trade. It is already being used successfully by Customs agencies across the world, helping improve traceability in fish trade and work to protect threatened species.

October 2017

TRAFFIC facilitates the recognition of FairWild as a "certifiable standard" by the Certification and Accreditation Administration of China – a major breakthrough. Also, TRAFFIC partner Pukka Herbs sells 32 teas containing FairWild-certified ingredients, with 86% of their wild-collected herbs certified (up from 77% in 2016).

Oct 2016 - CoP17

The Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) 17th Conference of the Parties (CoP) led to many positive developments for wildlife trade regulation in line with several of TRAFFIC's recommendations, including the inclusion of further marine and timber species within the CITES appendices.

✔ A TRAFFIC report, Reduced to Skin and Bones, highlights how tiger farms can stimulate consumer demand for and illegal trade in wild Tigers. During the meeting, Lao PDR announces it will phase-out its tiger farms.

✔ All eight species of pangolin are listed in Appendix I (banned from international trade) after mounting evidence of massive poaching and illegal trade.

October 2016

Timber is the most widely traded wildlife resource worldwide. However, in the absence of effective legislation and regulations, unsustainable overexploitation leading to widespread deforestation is a major threat, affecting the quality of live, local livelihoods and national economies, as well as biodiversity. 

TRAFFIC signs a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) to work towards sustainability in timber trade and protection for irreplaceable African rainforests.

2015

In response to massive overexploitation of some wild songbird populations in Asia, TRAFFIC and partners convene the first ever Asian Songbird Crisis Summit to develop a conservation plan of action to help save species from extinction.

In September 2015, facilitated by TRAFFIC, WWF and SADC, the national forest agencies of Kenya, Tanzania, including Zanzibar, Uganda, Madagascar and Mozambique launch an historic declaration to improve management of timber trade.

Wildlife trafficking in passenger luggage by air is one the most common methods employed by smugglers. TRAFFIC leads the Reducing Opportunities for the Unlawful Transport of Endangered Species (ROUTES) Partnership to bring together aviation and transport logistics industry to help disrupt the routes used by organised criminal syndicates and detect illegal wildlife products in transit.

Scientists, professors and over 600 of Viet Nam’s top students of traditional medicine pledge never to use endangered wildlife. Their actions are spurred by TRAFFIC workshops to empower participants to promote wildlife-friendly practices, and influence others to stop consuming endangered wildlife.

2014

Over 1000 frontline officers receive beneficial training in TRAFFIC's ground-breaking course on wildlife trade and species identification.

2010

Sniffer dogs trained to detect hidden wildlife articles enter active service in India: part of an ongoing programme since 1996 with, by 2020 wildlife detector dogs active in a number of European and Asian countries. 

2008

TRAFFIC and partners establish FairWild as a fair and sustainable certification scheme for wild harvested plants. By 2020, 34 companies are processing or selling certified products.

2006

TRAFFIC begins monitoring wildlife trade on websites and social media platforms in China; this work expands to Viet Nam in 2014. 

2005

The Wildlife Crime Database "EU-TWIX" is established as a joint initiative by the Belgian Federal Police, CITES Management Authority and Customs, and TRAFFIC. By 2020 the EU-TWIX database contains 67,000 entries and has resulted in several investigations.

2002

A joint WWF-TRAFFIC report reveals links between organised criminal gangs and wildlife traffickers.

2000

TRAFFIC assists with intelligence leading to the seizure of four tiger, 70 leopard and 221 blackbuck skins, and 18,000 leopard nails in India.

1990s

TRAFFIC heads up international efforts on trade in wild birds, leading to new management approaches in exporting countries and closure of the EU and US markets to imports.

Groundbreaking investigations of tiger and rhino trade demonstrate the dominance of East Asian end markets, prompting strong action through CITES, and TRAFFIC engagement with the traditional medicine sector.

Following TRAFFIC’s review of the caviar trade from the Caspian Sea, CITES trade controls are applied to all sturgeon species and the caviar trade evolves rapidly towards more sourcing from aquaculture.

TRAFFIC plays a central role in investigating the trade in shahtoosh, a high value wool from the endangered Tibetan Antelope. This motivates widespread regulation and action by government enforcement authorities.

1980s

TRAFFIC plays a central role in research into the dynamics of the elephant ivory trade – forming the basis for a CITES decision in 1989 to enact a global trade ban.

TRAFFIC’s extensive review of wildlife trade regulations in EU member states ultimately leads to a groundbreaking and comprehensive EU law, and prompts action to reduce trade in many species for which the EU was a major market.

TRAFFIC establishes offices in the US, Japan, South America and many European countries.

1970s

TRAFFIC’s landmark studies (including spotted cat and seal skins, parrots, cacti and orchids), in many cases lead directly to CITES measures and law enforcement in key markets in the US and Europe.

... 1976 TRAFFIC FOUNDED

Shortly after world governments finalise the text of the Washington Convention, now better known as CITES, and it enters into force, TRAFFIC is created by IUCN as wildlife specialists to assist governments with implementation of the new Convention.