WCP | Wildlife Crime Prevention
The illegal wildlife trade refers to crimes involving live wildlife, wildlife products or their derivatives, both flora and fauna, across the world. International awareness and concern about wildlife trafficking has increased and the plight of elephant and rhinos is receiving increasing attention. However, the illegal wildlife trade is much more complex, involving a multitude of species and a variety of markets and drivers.
Unprecedented wildlife trafficking threatens Africa’s vulnerable biodiversity. Wildlife criminal syndicates often recruit individuals living in communities adjacent to protected areas. These communities are attracted to such illegal activities due to poverty, human-wildlife conflict often coupled with poor anti-poaching enforcement and therefore reduced risk. Such poaching quickly evolves into a supply chain that is monopolised by organised crime syndicates. Additionally, when borders are under monitored the ease at which transnational illegal wildlife trafficking takes place is increased.
Because of the transnational nature of organised crime networks involved in wildlife trafficking, regionally and nationally, authorised law enforcement agencies have a huge task to track, arrest, and prosecute many of the network’s middlemen. In particular, the distributed and resilient management structure of these criminal syndicates makes them difficult to shutdown unless coordinated cross-border investigations are undertaken to identify and prosecute higher-tier syndicate members and even lower level traders.
Transnational crime is big business and will continue to grow until the paradigm of high profits and low risk is challenged. Countries around the world must work to reduce the ease and profitability of the trade. Curtailing it thus requires a broad and holistic approach. This global illicit industry is more than just one network, one country or even one crime. It was with this in mind the Wildlife Crime Prevention was established.
WCP | Wildlife Crime Prevention supports the Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW) to reduce the illegal wildlife trade across Zambia and neighbouring countries throughout the region.
Zambia is a vital range state for many elephant populations, a stronghold for significant carnivore populations as well as a number of other rare and endangered species. Zambia is located at the centre of several Southern African transit networks. Illegal wildlife products, including those from neighbouring countries are transported from and through Zambia destined for a variety of transit routes and markets, often ultimately ending up in Asia.