Illegal Wildlife Trade Stories

  • Full circle

    WWF Magazine: Summer 2024
    In Viet Nam’s Central Annamite forests, owning the past and preparing for the future
    Green mountains of Vietnam
  • Improving captive tiger management in Viet Nam

    February 22, 2024

    Under the USAID Saving Threatened Wildlife project, WWF supports Viet Nam’s efforts to reduce illegal wildlife trafficking by engaging with leaders in the Vietnamese government, private sector, and civil society. WWF-Viet Nam and its governmental and NGO partners have been advocating for and working towards stronger regulation and management of Viet Nam’s captive tiger facilities.

    We sat down with Anh Le from WWF-Viet Nam to find out more about this critical work and how it’s helping to protect tigers in Viet Nam and across Asia.

    Tiger standing in a caged area
  • Behati Prinsloo Levine on the magic of Namibia’s black rhinos—and what we can do to save them

    September 12, 2023

    When I was a kid, marking days off the calendar until school holidays arrived, I knew that each day took me closer to Etosha National Park in Namibia. Unfortunately, the rhinos that live there are targets for armed poachers and international wildlife crime syndicates that kill them for their horns. We must protect them. 

    Behati sits on the ground smiling at the camera with rhinos in the far background
  • WWF’s Dechen Dorji on keeping the spirit of the Year of the Tiger close to our hearts

    February 21, 2023

    Tigers have faced unprecedented threats for many years, but conservation efforts over the past decade have shown that recovering tigers from the brink of extinction is possible when we transcend boundaries and work together.

    Dechen Dorji stands in front of tall snowy peaks on a sunny day
  • In a win for wild tigers, the US Senate passes major legislation against wildlife crime

    December 07, 2022

    In a major win for tigers, the US Senate passed legislation that will help prevent captive tigers from ending up in the illegal trade of their parts and products—a primary threat to big cats in the wild. The Big Cat Public Safety Act now goes to President Biden to sign.

    A tiger walks through the snow on a sunny day in China
  • Heavily poached sturgeon slip toward extinction

    July 21, 2022

    Sturgeon and paddlefish—freshwater fish that have existed for hundreds of millions of years—now face extinction due mainly to the illegal trade in wild-caught caviar and meat. The world’s first comprehensive assessment of the species in over 13 years, released today by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), confirmed that all 26 remaining species are now threatened with extinction.

    A gray sturgeon sits on the sandy bottom of one of the Great Lakes
  • What is people-centered tiger conservation?

    Finding effective ways to partner with people living and working in areas where tigers roam is vital for the long-term recovery of these big cats.

    A group of citizen scientists walk through a winding path in the forest
  • Tech companies remove or block 11.6 million listings for prohibited wildlife and products

    September 29, 2021

    Members of the Coalition to End Wildlife Trafficking Online have removed or blocked more than 11.6 million listings for prohibited and endangered species and associated products since 2018.

    A rhino in Nepal looks directly at the camera on green grass
  • Understanding consumer behavior to reduce wildlife demand

    September 09, 2021

    Curbing illegal, unsustainable and high-disease-risk wildlife consumer demand is an urgent and difficult task. Conservationists are increasingly adopting an approach that integrates regulatory measures, consumer data, and behavioral science to successfully change attitudes and end wildlife demand.

    asian elephants kui buri thailand
  • Rhino populations are recovering in Namibia thanks to community-led interventions

    WWF Magazine: Summer 2021
    Black rhino populations are recovering in Namibia thanks to community-led interventions.
    Rhino surrounded by vegetation
  • A snaring crisis grips Southeast Asia, threatening its biodiversity

    WWF Magazine: Spring 2021
    A deadly crisis is spreading across Southeast Asia, silently emptying forests of wildlife. Snaring impacts over 700 mammal species in the region, including rare animals such as the Asian elephant.
    Elephant line illustration
  • How the US and Europe help fuel the illegal tiger trade

    September 30, 2020

    New findings show that weak legislation and regulations on captive tiger facilities across the European Union and the United Kingdom are helping to fuel the illegal tiger trade. And the US 

    Tiger caged in captivitiy
  • Scientists record 110 new species in Greater Mekong

    August 25, 2020

    A new WWF report details a vibrant diversity of plants and vertebrate animals in Southeast Asia that have never been scientifically identified.

    A close up of a lizard's face.
  • Sealing Pandora's Box

    WWF Magazine: Fall 2020
    Environmental destruction and the high-risk wildlife trade are intimately connected with the emergence of new zoonotic diseases like COVID-19, but conservation could help prevent future pandemics.
    Red and green germ illustration with trees
  • The snaring crisis in Southeast Asia

    July 01, 2020

    Illegal snaring is a rampant threat to wildlife and people in the forests of Southeast Asia. Snares are used to capture animals for the illegal wildlife trade. WWF-supported ranger patrols are working to address this crisis by removing snares. 

    Confiscated snares and traps in Cambodia.
  • A hue-shifting chameleon's island home is under threat

    WWF Magazine: Summer 2020
    Madagascar is home to remarkable, unique biodiversity. Unfortunately, threats to the island’s flora and fauna abound. Without strong conservation strategies, several species could be lost for good.
    Chameleon
  • Leigh Henry on making conservation policy that matters

    WWF Magazine: Summer 2020
    As WWF’s policy lead on wildlife conservation, Leigh Henry has played a key role in the organization's efforts to combat the illegal wildlife trade.
    Leigh Henry
  • Visiting a tiger farm in Southeast Asia—and what such places mean for wild tigers

    Leigh Henry and her colleagues from WWF’s Tiger’s Alive team visited Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam to continue the work of ending the illegal tiger trade and phasing out tiger farms.

    Tiger in a cage
  • 5 things Tiger King doesn’t explain about captive tigers

    March 31, 2020

    Tiger King, Netflix’s new docu-series, is roaring with popularity, but behind the drama, there is a frightful truth: captive tigers in the United States are a significant conservation issue and could impact tigers in the wild.

    Caged tiger, Indiana, United States
  • The fight to stop pangolin extinction

    An estimated 1 million pangolins were trafficked in the last ten years, though this number may be conservative given the volume of recent pangolin scale seizures. Learn what WWF and partners are doing to stop the extinction of this elusive mammal.

    A Pangolin hunting for ants.
  • Rhino poaching on the decline in South Africa

    Illegal killings of rhinos in South Africa are on the decline. In 2019, poachers killed 594 rhinos, down from 769 in the year prior, according to South Africa’s Department of the Environment, Forestry, and Fisheries.

    Two black rhinos in South Africa
  • What I saw at a Chinese tiger farm and what it means for wild tigers

    January 09, 2020

    Leigh Henry, WWF’s Director of Wildlife Policy, recently returned from a trip to China – the country where tiger farms started back in the 1980s. Leigh and her colleagues visited one of the world’s largest tiger farms– the Harbin Siberian Tiger Park – in the northeast corner of China. This is what she saw on her visit.

    Tiger Farm
  • Two years after China bans elephant ivory trade, demand for elephant ivory is down

    December 31, 2019

    Two years ago this month, China took the monumental step of banning elephant ivory trade within the country. Dec. 31, 2017 was the last day it was legal to buy or sell ivory there.

    African elephant.
  • Malaysia's tigers on the brink of extinction

    November 25, 2019

    Tigers living on the Malayan Peninsula—a region that includes parts of Thailand, Malyasia, and Myanmar—are at risk of going extinct in just the next two to three years.

    Camera trap image of a Malayan tiger.