Project information

To identify EU Hotspots of Illegal Wildlife Trade

Closing the “Grey Trade” in valuable wildlife products is an initial & immediate means of combating wildlife crime, which is worth over £10 billion ($12 billion) pa. This trade attracts criminal syndicates, destabilizes nations & wreaks havoc with important biodiversity assets in source countries.

May 2013 - November 2013

Charity information: LionAid

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  • Need

    Need

    The recent CITES CoP indicated that any action must result from cooperative efforts from source, transit & destination countries.The EU is thought to be the 3rd most important region in the world for destination of illegal wildlife products & so significant achievements can be made to arrest the upward trend of illegal trading with a more determined and effective EU stance. By closing many loopholes in the legal trade used by traffickers, significant progress can be made in the short term.

    Solution

    Using the legal trade records, we will show that there are considerable inconsistencies that can be seen as facilitating the illegal trade. These studies of the “grey trade” need to be expanded, enhanced and maintained to pinpoint trafficking hotspots needing attention by enforcement authorities. Criminal networks are highly flexible in terms of taking advantage of these loopholes, and their areas of operation can rapidly shift as attention is focused on a particular nation.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    To Identify EU Hotspots of Illegal Wildlife Trade

    Activities

    » Create database of suspect import trends of valuable wildlife products & determine whether products have likely entered into illegal trade
    » Create rapid response reporting to track suspect imports even with legitimate source country permits to detect shifting wildlife trafficking networks
    » Assess the legitimacy of wildlife products currently imported by EU and determine entry points through which illegitimate products were allowed entry.
    » Suggest import moratoria pending legality check of suspect exports & address disparities between import & export nos. for valuable wildlife products

    Ultimate success will be the reduction in the numbers of rhinos killed for their horns, elephants killed for their ivory & lions/tigers killed for their bones and other body parts


  • Impact

    Impact

    Significant advances can be made to arrest the upward trend of illegal trade with a determined & effective EU stance. By closing many loopholes in the legal trade used by traffickers, significant progress can be achieved in the short term. These loopholes both apply to trafficking taking place though personal and household effects derogations “regulating” the import of hunting trophies as well as questionable CITES permits issued by source countries & accepted as valid in destination countries

    Risk

    This project is a detailed analysis of existing trade records and interaction with both Member State enforcement agencies to determine legitimacy of wildlife products currently imported and discussions with the EU regarding possible amendments to the EU Wildlife Trade Regulations. The risk is that the evidence we uncover may be disregarded or not acted upon by either the Member States or the EU itself.

    Reporting

    Donors to this project will receive a monthly email report on the project detailing the evidence we have found and the actions we have taken and are planning to take.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £50,000

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      Amount Heading Description
      £5,000 Travel Travel and accommodation
      £25,000 Investigations To uncover trends,patterns & import/export inconsistencies among EU Member State
      £10,000 Admin General salaries, admin,overheads and report final report writing
      £5,000 Guidelines Guideline preparation to provide better evaluation of export permits
      £5,000 Evaluations Guideline preparation to provide a Rapid Assessment Evaluation of import statistics
  • Background

    Location

    The European Union

    Beneficiaries

    Significant achievements can be made to arrest the upward trend of illegal trading with a more determined & effective EU stance. A recent workshop identified many areas of institutional strengthening, cooperation, training and interagency collaboration needed to increase effectiveness. Such good suggestions will take considerable time, but in the interim, by closing many loopholes in the legal trade used by traffickers, significant progress can be achieved in the short term.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    We participated in a recent EU Wildlife Crime Workshop where Mr. Gerbrandy MEP stated “ the dramatic explosion in wildlife poaching & trafficking has been driven by growing demand in Asia, but Europe is no innocent bystander & it is high time the EU did something about it”. The investigations LionAid has already carried out & which we revealed at the Workshop were met with astonishment & shock. Nobody had seen these trends until we began to point them out & our further work is eagerly awaited.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.

    People

    Dr. Pieter Kat

    Trustee & Director.The 1st person to identify the underlying trends within CITES trade records. He is an evolutionary biologist & geneticist.

    Ms. Christine Macsween

    Trustee & Director. A Chartered Mgt. Accountant with extensive international business experience and analytical experience.

LionAid - Wildlife Crime Workshop EU Parliament

"…over the past few years wildlife trafficking has become more organized, more lucrative, more widespread, and more dangerous than ever before."

Former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton