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Illegal Wildlife Trade Stories

Two black rhinos in South Africa

South Africa’s rhino poaching trends show a slight decrease—but death toll remains too high

New 2017 rhino poaching numbers out of South Africa show a small decrease from the previous year, but the death toll remains perilously high.

  • A ranger's commitment to wildlife

    October 01, 2016

    Anety is a wildlife police officer working in Zambia. She protects more than one hundred different species, including elephants, lions, and leopards, that call her park home. One of just three female wildlife rangers in her park, Anety works in a dangerous and under-resourced profession.

    Elephant in Zambia
  • CITES: Big steps for wildlife

    October 01, 2016

    During the world’s largest ever wildlife trade meeting—the 17th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (CoP17) to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)—governments united behind a series of tough decisions to provide greater protection to a host of threatened species and bolster efforts to tackle soaring levels of poaching and wildlife trafficking.

    Head portrait of a Sumatran rhino
  • A massive win for the world’s most trafficked mammal

    September 28, 2016

    All legal trade of pangolins, the world’s most trafficked mammals, will soon end thanks to an international agreement to further protect the critically endangered species from extinction.

  • Huge drop in African elephant population as poaching crisis continues

    September 25, 2016

    Africa’s elephant population has crashed by an estimated 111,000 in the past decade primarily due to poaching, according to the IUCN’s African Elephant Status Report.

    Elephants walking in KAZA
  • Why CITES matters

    September 23, 2016

    One of the best tools we have for fighting the illegal wildlife trade that threatens many of the world’s most endangered species is CITES—the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.

    Siberian tiger walking in snow
  • Bipartisan Senate legislation gets tough on wildlife crime

    September 16, 2016

    Among the measures included in the END Wildlife Trafficking Act are measures that will ensure federal agencies continue to use a coordinated, whole-of-government approach as they respond to the global poaching crisis and direct them to work with affected countries to improve their abilities to protect wildlife populations, disrupt wildlife trafficking networks and prosecute wildlife criminals.

    African elephant at dusk
  • WWF introduces innovative technologies to combat poaching in Kenya

    WWF Magazine: Fall 2016
    WWF’s Wildlife Crime Technology Project (WCTP) is piloting innovative technologies to combat poaching in Kenya.
    Testing controls
  • Global momentum in elephant conservation

    June 20, 2016

    Elephants have been hit hard by a global poaching epidemic that’s emptying the planet of an array of wildlife. As many as 30,000 elephants are killed for their ivory each year. But people and governments are taking a stand for these remarkable animals – and making a tremendous impact.

    elephants at watering hole, Namibia
  • Rampant poaching threatens former elephant stronghold in Tanzania

    June 15, 2016

    Rampant ivory poaching has reduced the elephant population in Tanzania’s oldest and largest protected area by 90 percent in fewer than 40 years. WWF is sounding the alarm for urgent action in combating wildlife crime in the reserve.

    an elephant in Selous reserve
  • New US ivory regulations mark a victory in the fight to save elephants

    June 02, 2016

    Setting an example for the world in the fight to save elephants, the United States has finalized new regulations that will help shut down commercial elephant ivory trade within its borders and stop wildlife crime overseas.

    African elephant
  • Celebrating an amazing two years of zero rhino poaching in Nepal

    May 02, 2016

    Nepal marked two consecutive years since its last rhino was poached on May 2, 2014. This exceptional success is a result of a combination of high-level political will and government entities, and the active involvement of conservation communities.

    rhino in grass
  • What is ivory and why does it belong on elephants?

    We’ve all seen photographs of majestic elephants sporting long, off-white tusks on either side of their trunks. This ivory is both beautiful on the animals and essential to the species’ survival. But what exactly is it?

    elephant standing in field
  • Night vision: how WWF helped rangers illuminate the darkness

    April 26, 2016

    WWF designed and installed a camera and software system smart enough to both distinguish human movement from that of animals and to alert rangers of the presence of poachers. What does this mean for conservation?

    setting up the camera
  • Two African elephants roaming the flowery grass land in Tanzania
  • Activist Matt Ballen on how each of us can make a difference

    WWF Magazine: Summer 2016
    Environmental activist Matt Ballen on using advocacy to protect the environment.
    Ivory carvings in New York City's Times Square.
  • WWF develops a new technology to stop poachers in their tracks

    WWF designed and installed a remarkable new thermal and infrared camera and software system that can identify poachers from afar and alert park rangers of their presence.

    Mike Feldman, electronic security technician for Unilux installing solar panels for FLIR camera system in a National Park in central Kenya.
  • For the first time in 100 years, tiger numbers are growing

    April 10, 2016

    After a century of constant decline, the number of wild tigers is on the rise! According to the most recent data, at least 3,890 tigers now exist in the wild—up from an estimated 3,200 in 2010.

    tiger in grass
  • New US regulations around captive tigers could provide a boost for wild tigers

    April 05, 2016

    Tiger populations fighting for a comeback in the wild will receive a much needed lifeline from the United States government. Improved and tightened regulations around captive tigers will make it more difficult for captive-bred tigers to filter into and stimulate the illegal wildlife trade that threatens wild tigers in Asia.

  • Wild tiger numbers trending upward

    WWF Magazine: Summer 2016
    For the first time in a century, the number of tigers living in the wild is going up
    Two tigers leaping in the grasses
  • Jared Leto and WWF raise awareness on wildlife crime

    Leto, a WWF Global Ambassador, spoke out against wildlife crime as part of a World Wildlife Day event on March 3, co-hosted by WWF President and CEO Carter Roberts. The event brought together local supporters, partners and influencers to raise awareness and support for combatting the poaching crisis.

    Jared Leto giving remarks
  • Why we care about elephants on World Wildlife Day—and every day

    March 03, 2016

    Elephants number among the smartest and most empathetic creatures on the planet. This World Wildlife Day, we’re celebrating these magnificent animals—and emphasizing their need for our help.

    BORNEO Christy Williams WWF 113471
  • Major ivory trafficking network broken up in the Democratic Republic of Congo

    February 11, 2016

    In a significant blow to the illegal ivory trade in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), authorities dismantled a major ivory trafficking syndicate thanks to a law enforcement supported by WWF and partners.

    Guard with hand held GPS device for recording gorilla locations
  • Five countries work toward a common goal in southern Africa

    WWF Magazine: Spring 2016
    Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA)
    Elephants walking in KAZA
  • Protecting pangolins from wildlife crime

    WWF Magazine: Spring 2016
    Pangolins defy the imagination—long, sleek, and covered head-to-toe in elegant scales. WWF Board Chair Neville Isdell and I revel in a shared quest to see a pangolin.