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What is Wildlife Crime?

The International Consortium on Combating Wildlife Crime (ICCWC) defines wildlife crime as acts committed contrary to national laws and regulations intended to protect natural resources and to administer their management and use.

At the international level, crime also involves violations of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), which regulates the export, import and re-export of wildlife. Countries of transit may also be affected. Wildlife crime is, therefore, no different from many other forms of illegal activities. Indeed, it shares many of the characteristics of other transnational crime types, such as illegal trade in narcotics. However, to a significant degree, wildlife crime has yet to be viewed, and accordingly responded to, as 'mainstream' crime.

Research by the United Nations (UN) has estimated that the illegal wildlife trade is worth as much as 23 billion USD every year. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime has published a research paper on enhancing the detection, investigation and disruption of illicit financial flows of wildlife crime, and the research includes red flag indicators that financial institutions could use to detect laundering of proceeds of wildlife crime. For more information, please click on the links provided.

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