By joining forces, we can disrupt wildlife cybercriminals and dismantle their networks.
Thousands of protected species of animals and plants are offered for sale online, accelerating the ongoing collapse of biodiversity. Apart from online platforms, wildlife traffickers also use parcel delivery services to then dispatch illegal wildlife or wildlife products to buyers. The increasing volume of wildlife cybercrime presents a challenge for those enforcing the EU Wildlife Trade Regulations, as controls require significant resources and skills to detect illegal wildlife.
In 2017 in France and Germany, over a six-week period of online monitoring by IFAW:
- 3312 ads recorded on e-commerce platforms
- 8244 specimens of endangered species were identified
- 2 million euros of market value
We work to disrupt and deter criminals and their networks trafficking wildlife in, or via, the EU using the internet and parcel delivery services. We’ve teamed up with INTERPOL, WWF and Belgian Customs to advance actions at four levels. An increased risk of detection, the removal of fraudulent adverts and accounts, as well as an intensification of seizures, will make it more difficult for wildlife criminals to operate.
In 2019 in Belgium and the Netherlands, online monitoring by WWF and TRAFFIC looking at 26 species on 50 platforms over a period of 3 months, found:
- 106 adverts of birds and reptiles of which the majority are endangered or critically endangered
- Fewer than 25% of the websites monitored provided clear information on relevant legislation/policies regarding trade in wildlife
Through research and analysis we will strengthen our understanding of how wildlife traffickers utilize and exploit the internet and parcel delivery services in Europe, draw up recommendations, and thereby facilitate and foster actions by law enforcement and the private sector.
We will provide tailored tools and training on best practice approaches to support wildlife enforcement staff across EU Member States in expanding their set of skills and methods in order to detect wildlife trafficking online.
INTERPOL will facilitate and support intelligence-led investigations and operations addressing wildlife trafficking in, and via, the EU. This will enable EU authorities to undertake targeted online wildlife trade investigations and joint operations, hopefully resulting in an increase of seizures and prosecutions.
We are building partnerships with online technology companies and parcel delivery companies in the EU to prevent traffickers from exploiting their services. This work builds on ongoing global efforts to bring companies together with conservation experts to find new solutions, such as the Coalition to End Wildlife Trafficking Online and the ROUTES partnership.
The project outcomes will benefit all EU Member States, with an emphasis on Belgium, France, Germany and the Netherlands.
The content of this webpage represents the views of the author only and is his/her sole responsibility. The European Commission does not accept any responsibility for use that may be made of the information it contains.
every problem has a solution, every solution needs support.
The problems we face are urgent, complicated, and resistant to change. Real solutions demand creativity, hard work, and involvement from people like you.