Header photo: pangolin © Carl Fourie Getty Images Signature via Canva Pro

Poaching has severe consequences

Poaching endangered species has severe consequences. Not only for the animal in question and its offspring, but for entire ecosystems and local population that rely on these ecosystems. Trade in wild animals is often linked to other illegal trade flows, such as drugs, wood and gold, which commonly involve money laundering. Moreover, this crime represents major risks in terms of security. The proceeds from illegal trade in wild animals (illegal wildlife trade) is used to fund rebel groups in diverse countries[1]source: UNODC World Wildlife Crime Report 2016 In addition, every year, increasing numbers of park rangers and other nature conservationists are murdered, as revealed in the study by Global Witness.

Putting an end to poaching with the help of the local population

In our quest to put an end to poaching we work closely with the local population. After all, they are our eyes and ears in the areas where endangered species live. We train them in preventing and combating wildlife crime and in recognising and reporting (early signs of) poaching in their area. We also help develop alternative sources of income, so that poaching becomes less attractive.

Increasing the chance of getting caught

To tackle crime we must invest in reinforcing the investigative system. Together with our partners, we train park rangers and the local population to collect and document evidence that can be used to convict poachers. We also support the judicial authorities, such as the Public Prosecution Service, in formulating the indictment and building a strong case, so that the chance of a conviction is as high as possible.

Project: Operation Jaguar

Jaguars are increasingly being poached. To identify and combat the illegal trade in jaguars in Peru, Bolivia, Guyana and Suriname, IUCN NL, Earth League International (ELI) and IFAW worked together from 2019 to 2022 in the Operation Jaguar project.

Photo: jaguar teeth © Britta Jaschinski IUCN NL

Reducing the demand for wild animals

Poaching and the illegal trade in wild animals can only be fought by demonstrating how disastrous the impact is and by reducing demand. Therefore, we draw attention to the problem of wildlife crime among the public and politicians. We investigate the scope, structure and dynamics of the criminal networks and pass this information on to the relevant parties. We create awareness and increase the pressure to take action.

Wildlife crime is a cross-border problem

Wildlife crime is increasingly becoming a form of organised crime. For example, existing illegal trade routes for the drugs or arms trade are used in the process. This means that an animal from South America can be transported to Asia, via Europe. A cross-border problem that must also be tackled at the international level. One of the ways we do this is by contributing with our local partners to legislation in different countries.

What can we do in the Netherlands to combat wildlife crime?

The Netherlands can play an important role in the fight against wildlife crime. Such as by drafting and implementing a national action plan to prevent illegal trade in animals and by contributing to the European Wildlife Crime Action Plan.

Enforcing existing laws and regulations related to the illegal trade in animals and better control of illegal trade in animals at transit ports (Rotterdam, Schiphol) can play an important role in combating wildlife crime.

Learn more?

Antoinette Sprenger
Senior Expert Environmental Justice
Liliana Jauregui
Liliana Jauregui
Senior Expert Environmental Justice
Marc Hoogeslag
Senior Expert Nature Conservation