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More About Wildlife Crime


The legal and illegal wildlife trade is fueling the global trade and consumption of wildlife, leading to increased risks of zoonotic disease transmission and threatening biodiversity worldwide. To reduce the risks of the next pandemic, the root cause of zoonotic outbreaks must be confronted–the commercial wildlife trade and the disruption of wild habitats and societies that depend on them.

OPS supports the outreach campaigns of WildAid, Freeland Foundation and other organizations that are targeting consumer demand in Asian markets where trade is centralized. Once poachers and smugglers and their precious contraband have crossed national borders, wildlife agents and park rangers are often helpless. Law enforcement networks are often underfunded and understaffed, unable to investigate and monitor vast areas or remote markets.

The illegal trade in wildlife should be defined as organized crime, and the traders dealt with as criminals. Endangered species are being poached and smuggled on an unprecedented scale to meet consumer demand primarily for meat, health and wellness products, and novelty items. Much of this market is centralized in Asia, but consumer demand worldwide fuels the trade.

We are working in coalition with the Endpandemics Alliance and the US Wildlife and Health Alliance to develop solutions to rebuild nature, end the commercial trade in wildlife, confront industrialized animal agriculture, and empower marginalized communities at the local, national, regional and international level.

OPS’ role is to catalyze, inspire and equip local and international agents, stewards and caretakers committed to protecting the world’s wildlife. Through its partners and films, OPS is working to expose and highlight the illegal wildlife trade.

Learn more about OPS campaigns to address the commercial wildlife trade.

For more information:

Pandemics and biodiversity fact sheet

Preventing the next pandemic: COVID-19 and the global wildlife trade

US Wildlife and Health Alliance Working Group Statement and Petition

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