Indian Pangolin Manis crassicaudata © Gerald Cubitt

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

Indian Pangolin Manis crassicaudata © Gerald Cubitt


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.

Rick Scobey, 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.

Rick Scobey, Executive Director

TRAFFIC's recent conservation achievement timeline

March 2022

New online Learning Centre makes training resource freely available

TRAFFIC launches a new online Learning Centre to provide free access to our online courses. It houses targeted material to support law enforcement, private sector, CITES authorities, behaviour change practitioners, and NGO partners in their daily operations. The Learning Centre makes these materials easy to access and openly available to all those who need them.

January 2022

Successful engagement and technological advancements in the aviation industry

Through our ROUTES Partnership, we supported more than 22 companies, 20 airports, and three trade associations to tackle wildlife trafficking in aviation. Thousands of airline staff across the industry have been trained with our materials. Technological innovations such as software for automated x-ray detection of smuggled wildlife and an app for transport personnel to report suspicions anonymously to law enforcement have also been rolled out. At least seven seizures of wildlife have been connected to our efforts in increasing transport staff's capacity to detect and report to law enforcement.

July 2021

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Facilitation Panel unanimously endorsed a Recommended Practice proposed by ROUTES partners ACI and IATA for inclusion in the UN Convention on International Civil Aviation, which was later approved by the ICAO Council: Contracting States should ensure that procedures are in place to combat wildlife trafficking, including clear reporting systems and relevant competent authorities’ points of contact for airport and airline operators. The Recommended Practice will become effective in July 2022, culminating from years of TRAFFIC's leadership of the ROUTES Partnership.

March 2021

Years of unprecedented collaboration with the financial sector results in a major global analysis of how criminals use common financial mechanisms and fraud to profit from wildlife trafficking. TRAFFIC applies these insights to train banks and financial intelligence units to better identify the profits and perpetrators of wildlife trafficking.


COVID-19 highlights wildlife trade’s potential role in animal-to-human disease spillover. 

TRAFFIC responds with an evidence-based platform and initiates new partnerships with governments, intergovernmental organisations and health sector experts developing best practice solutions to reduce disease risks associated with wildlife trade.

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.

Through the coalition, over 20 tech giants including Tencent, Facebook and google commit to deter illegal wildlife trade on their platforms. In 2019, Coalition member eBay reported blocking 165,000 prohibited listings - the first time a global tech company included online wildlife trafficking in social responsibility reporting.

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.


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.

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.


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


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. 


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.


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


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.


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


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


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 investigations into trade in caviar, and in shahtoosh (valuable wool from an endangered Tibetan antelope), CITES trade controls are applied to all sturgeon species, and governments take widespread action on shahtoosh.


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.


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.


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.