TNRC Wildlife Supply Chain Corruption


TNRC Guide: Identifying Corruption Risks along a Wildlife Supply Chain

Designing and implementing conservation and natural resource management programs that integrate ways to address the drivers and facilitators of corruption typically start with an analysis of corruption risks. While there is no single answer to the question "what works?", experience shows that countering corruption requires interdependent approaches, and that a range of contextual factors will affect their feasibility. This “journey” outlines corruption risks along a wildlife supply chain. The aim is to provide illustrative examples that can help practitioners to “connect the corruption dots” in their own contexts. (These general guides may not provide a comprehensive map of all opportunities for corruption along the many specific supply chains within the wildlife sector.)

For information on specific anti-corruption approaches and learning, visit the TNRC Knowledge Hub.

© Martin Harvey / WWF


! Corruption Risk A warden or ranger ignores poaching or snare-setting, or skips a patrol in return for a bribe or other favor

Locating wildlife

! Corruption Risk Bribes or other corrupt actions for information about the specific locations of wildlife

Accessing protected areas

! Corruption Risk Bribes or other corrupt actions for access to private lands for the purpose of snare-setting or poaching

© Jürgen Freund / WWF


! Corruption Risk Bribes or other corrupt actions to obtain information about checkpoints, avoid inspections

! Corruption Risk Bribes or other corrupt actions to obtain or avoid penalties for fraudulent transport permits or other documents

! Corruption Risk Bribes or other corrupt actions with transport companies or employees to hide/ignore illegal materials

© Jamie Cotten / IFAW / WWF-US


! Corruption Risk Bribes or other corrupt actions to facilitate laundering illegal supply into legal processing

© WWF / James Morgan

Wildlife management authority

! Corruption Risk Falsification of CITES certificates in return for a bribe

! Corruption Risk Bribes or other corrupt actions to receive favorable hunting quotas

! Corruption Risk Bribes or other corrupt actions for fraudulent issuance of hunting permits, captive breeding licenses and other documents

© Daniël Nelson

Wildlife management authority & police

! Corruption Risk Payments or benefits for releasing seized specimens into markets or selling seized specimens directly without legal authority

! Corruption Risk Bribes or other corrupt actions for fraudulent checks or audits

© Juozas Cernius / WWF-UK

Border police & Customs

! Corruption Risk Bribes to avoid inspection in transport or in ports

! Corruption Risk Approving suspected illegal shipments in return for payments or benefits

! Corruption Risk Misdeclaration of wild-sourced as legally farmed in return for a bribe

Port staff (e.g. baggage handlers)

! Corruption Risk Bribes to ensure safe passage of shipment

© WWF / James Morgan


! Corruption Risk Bribes to avoid inspections

! Corruption Risk Ignoring illegal sale in return for payment or benefit


! Corruption Risk Using illegal wildlife products as bribes

© Ola Jennersten / WWF-Sweden

Banks, financial institutions and regulators

! Corruption Risk Bribery or collusion to facilitate laundering profits from illegal trade

Tax havens

! Corruption Risk Identities intentionally hidden to make accountability for corrupt actions and other illegal activities harder to enforce

© Shutterstock / ArtisticPhoto / WWF

Governance of natural resources doesn’t just happen within specific supply chains and the institutions directly involved in them. Legislatures, courts, individual politicians, and officials in institutions across government all make decisions that help to prevent, detect and prosecute corruption related to natural resources. But governance processes and practices can also be part of the problem. Corruption outside of specific natural resource supply chains might include payments to policy makers for limiting environmental regulations, payoffs to political parties for infrastructure contracts that destroy habitat, or collusion between judges and prosecutors to protect politically-connected offenders. Some other risk areas are outlined below, and analysis of decisions affecting natural resources may reveal others.

Policy & Legislation

Electing government officials

! Corruption Risk Political contributions or other favors to gain access to natural resources or avoid scrutiny of activities

Writing laws

! Corruption Risk Unclear or complex laws create conditions for abuse of power and official discretion

! Corruption Risk Gaps in jurisdiction limit oversight and accountability

! Corruption Risk Payments from corporations or other special interests tilt laws in lawmakers' favor


! Corruption Risk Conflicts of interest lead to self-dealing or protecting friends and family at all stages of natural resource management

! Corruption Risk Poorly executed laws limit accountability for corrupt actions



! Corruption Risk Investigations prevented or impeded in exchange for bribes or other benefits

! Corruption Risk Tip-offs, release of suspects, loss or tampering with evidence in exchange for bribes or other benefits


! Corruption Risk Case delays in exchange for bribes or other benefits


! Corruption Risk Unclear sentencing guidelines enable lenient penalties in exchange for bribes or other beneifts

! Corruption Risk Judges acquit defendants or impose lower sentences in exchange for bribes or other benefits

! Corruption Risk Political interference in the release of convicted traffickers in return for benefits


! Corruption Risk Avoiding penalization in exchange for bribes or other benefits

The images used on this page are for illustration purposes only and do not imply the involvement of any depicted person or vessel in corruption or illegal activity.

Image attribution: © / Jen Guyton / WWF; © Brian J. Skerry / National Geographic Stock / WWF; © Georgina Goodwin / Shoot The Earth / WWF-UK; © Hkun Lat / WWF-Aus