What is wildlife trafficking?
Wildlife trafficking is the illegal trade of protected specimens of wild animals and plants, either threatened with extinction or not threatened, but controlled in order to avoid utilization incompatible with their survival. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) defines the protected specimens submitting their international trade to certain controls.
This illegal wildlife trade is diverse, including live animals, plants, and several different wildlife products derived from them (food products, exotic leather goods, wooden musical instruments, timber, tourist curios and medicines). Many wildlife species in trade are not endangered. However, the existence of an agreement to ensure the sustainability of the trade is important, in order to safeguard them for the future.
Wildlife trafficking has been using aviation global network to perform its illegal activities, causing serious environmental damage and similar effects as other international crimes, including promoting instability, financing organized crime and adversely affecting communities that live from wildlife tourism. In spite of the international (and national) legal frameworks, including the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), illegal wildlife trade is the fourth most lucrative global crime valued up to US$20 billion a year.
The aviation community must be united to address this problem. Current global efforts to raise awareness and combine efforts include the first UN General Assembly Resolution on the subject, the “Reducing opportunities for Unlawful Transport of Endangered Species (ROUTES) partnership, and the United for Wildlife Task Force Declaration, signed at the Buckingham Palace in 2016 by 40 parties, including ACI. ACI is committed to developing a framework to fight wildlife trafficking and adopting and encouraging the adoption of a zero tolerance policy regarding illegal wildlife trade.
The aim of this page is to provide ACI members and the broader aviation community with various tools that have been developed by international organizations government agencies to increase awareness. To this end, ACI global membership has passed a resolution and will continue to update the resources section:
- Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)
- United for Wildlife
- TRAFFIC: The Wildlife Trade Monitoring Network
- Reducing Opportunities for Unlawful Transport of Endangered Species (ROUTES)
- International Consortium on Combatting Wildlife Crime (ICCWC)
- World Wildlife Fund (WWF): Stop Wildlife Crime
United for Wildlife: The illegal wildlife trade
How aviation staff can help stop the illegal wildlife trade