Published 26 May 2016


New UNODC report provides global overview of wildlife crime

Cambridge, UK, 26th May 2016—the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime this week published its inaugural World Wildlife Crime Report, the first global assessment of its kind. The study highlights how the poaching and illegal trade of thousands of species worldwide presents real environmental dangers and ultimately undermines the rule of law by potentially fuelling conflict. 

The full UNODC World Wildlife Crime report is available here.

TRAFFIC contributed information towards the study, in particular on the reptile skin trade, while partner organizations in the project included those under the International Consortium on Combating Wildlife Crime (ICCWC), such as the Secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and the World Customs Organization (WCO).

The report—part of UNODC's ongoing Global Programme on Wildlife and Forest Crime—looks at eight case studies of species products sorted by seven industrial sectors that make use of wild sourced materials across the world.  Information has been extracted from 164,000 seizures contained in a database of wildlife crime cases in 120 countries. They cover almost 7,000 different species, with no country the source for more than 15% of any seized shipments.

Data used to compile the report came from a variety of sources, including those derived from EU-TWIX, the platform managed by TRAFFIC that enables enforcement officers to communicate securely with their counterparts across European countries. 

According to UNODC Executive Director, Yury Fedotov, who launched the report: “The desperate plight of iconic species at the hands of poachers has deservedly captured the world’s attention, and none too soon. 

“One of the critical messages to emerge from this research is that wildlife and forest crime is not limited to certain countries or regions. It is not a trade involving exotic goods from foreign lands being shipped to faraway markets.” 

The report also offers an analysis of legal and illegal markets for wildlife and forest products, to assist in addressing vulnerabilities in the legal trade and promote better global regulatory systems. It highlights too how gaps in legislation, law enforcement and criminal justice systems present serious issues. 

“This UNODC study provides important insight into the pervasive criminality that undermines international efforts to ensure that wildlife and forest trade is legal and sustainable,” said Steven Broad, TRAFFIC’s Executive Director and a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for the report. 

“UNODC’s analysis of this challenge adds important weight to the case for urgent and effective action by governments and businesses to tackle this critical threat to biodiversity, security and livelihoods of people around the world.”

The World Wildlife Crime Report is available from UNODC.


The UNODC Global Programme for Combating Wildlife and Forest Crime is a multi-year programme aiming to link existing regional efforts in a global system, enhancing capacity-building and wildlife law enforcement networks at regional and sub-regional levels. The Global Programme is working for and with the wildlife law enforcement community to ensure that wildlife crime, illegal logging, and related crimes are treated as serious transnational organized crimes. UNODC contributed to this event as part of the law enforcement and demand management of wildlife in Asia project financed by the European Union.