A Ground Pangolin © David Brossard

Wildlife TRAPS Wildlife Trafficking, Response, Assessment and Priority Setting

A Ground Pangolin © David Brossard


The Wildlife TRAPS Project, financed by USAID and implemented by TRAFFIC in collaboration with IUCN, is designed to develop and deliver a suite of ground-breaking partnerships and pioneering approaches to tackle wildlife crime between Africa and Asia.

Wildlife TRAPS uses targeted assessments, collaborative action planning, and innovative approaches to identify and advance interventions that can break trafficking chains and disrupt organised criminal networks.


of South African abalone is illegally sourced

James Compton, Project Leader - Wildlife TRAPS

Wildlife TRAPS works with a vast array of specialised networks in both the private and public sectors to develop innovative solutions and create lasting systemic changes in how illegal wildlife trade is prioritised and enforced globally

James Compton, Project Leader - Wildlife TRAPS

Wildlife TRAPS summary document

Download our Wildlife TRAPS two-pager for an overview of the project objectives and the actions we take to tackle the threats to African species from wildlife crime. Useful contact and engagement information is included also.

project overview

spotlight for priority wildlife

Wildlife TRAPS within TRAFFIC

Wildlife TRAPS works across both red and green TRAFFIC workstreams, supporting efforts to combat and identify illegal trade and wildlife crime whilst facilitating actions to promote sustainable practices and international agreements.

Actions include supporting law enforcement through the development of forensics techniques to aid in criminal investigations and prosecutions, running assessments of wildlife trade pertaining to specific species and commodities as well as supporting the implementation of international policies to bring about a sustainable future. Find out more about Wildlife TRAPS initiatives, resources and reports below.

Developing capacity for DNA forensics © TRACE Network


how Wildlife TRAPS helps the conservation of threatened species

transportation sector engagement

Engaging the transportation sector, covering logistics, freight and aviation industries, is essential in the fight against wildlife crime and illegal trade.

Criminal syndicates and wildlife trafficking networks exploit international transportation companies to smuggle wildlife products across the world. We're working with key corporate partners, companies and industry associations to train staff and strengthen mechanisms for the detection, reporting, of wildlife trafficking to law enforcement.

Illegal wildlife products showcased by TRAFFIC to raise awareness at the FIATA World Congress 2017


wildlife forensics advancements

Wildlife forensics is fast being recognised as an instrumental tool in the fight against wildlife crime.

Capacity for wildlife crime scene investigations and subsequent forensic analysis is in urgent need of development in many African and Asian nations, which is why we're working with our key partner, TRACE, the Wildlife Forensic Network, and various government departments and laboratories to increase the effectiveness and capacity for crime scene and laboratory forensics analysis to help in the prosecution of poachers and traffickers.

more about forensics

DNA analysis on an elephant tusk © TRACE Network


financial investigation + asset recovery

Financial investigation or “following the money” of individuals and criminal syndicates is critical in order to identify, seize, and remove the proceeds of wildlife crime from the hands of those facilitating the trade.

We work with financial institutions, financial crime experts, governmental financial intelligence and asset recovery units to develop typologies and training packages to assist these agencies in targeting their resources. 

enforcement capacity + collaboration

Bringing together interagency and international law enforcement, as well as increasing their capacity to fight wildlife crime, is an essential component of the Wildlife TRAPS project.

Together with our partners, we’re developing customised tools and accredited training opportunities for various specialised law enforcement and judiciary agencies, supporting cross collaboration and networking between African and Asian, as well as piloting new technologies to ensure that agencies are as well equipped as possible to match the highly innovative and adaptable syndicates involved in this trade.

consumer behavioural change

The poaching crisis affecting the four priority species associated with Wildlife TRAPS is primarily driven by high consumer demand from Asia.

Targeted social and behavioural change communications has been identified as an effective means of helping to reduce the motivations for the consumption of illegal or endangered wildlife products. Wildlife TRAPS is contributing to the development and implementation of such activities by administering an SBCC Community of Practice, developing webinars and expert roundtable dialogues to improve coordination and thought leadership in this space. 

more about behavioural change

Rhino horn grinding bowl in Hanoi, Viet Nam © Robert Patterson / WWF


Community engagement

Engaging with communities in source and destination countries gives local stakeholders the opportunity to join the fight against wildlife crime.

The Wildlife TRAPS Project together, with partners, has invested in the development of a framework and theory of change model for engaging communities and wildlife crime.  As communities are often on the front lines of illegal wildlife trade with regards to resource extraction and poaching this framework considers the wide variety of enabling conditions to empower communities to have better access and ownership over the resources on which they depend.

related news and reports to Wildlife TRAPS

explore news items and recent publications related to our work under the Wildlife TRAPS project

latest reports and materials

Trade analysis, reports and risk assessments all form part of the way in which Wildlife TRAPS tackles wildlife smuggling and works towards sustainability. View the latest resources here.

Visit our resource library for the full TRAFFIC publication archive.

a thank you

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is responsible for the majority of overseas development assistance from the United States Government and works to end extreme poverty and promote resilient, democratic societies while advancing security and prosperity for America and the world.

The core Wildlife-TRAPS team at a global planning meeting in Cambridge, UK