Disrupting and Helping Dismantle Organised Criminal Networks dealing in Ivory, Rhino Horn and Pangolin Scales

Timeframe: 2019 - 2020
Country/Region: Mozambique, Nigeria and Vietnam.
Partner: Wildlife Justice Commission (WJC)

In the latest Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) report, it was found that 1 million animal and plant species are threatened with extinction.  The conclusions of the report are clear: biodiversity loss is accelerating and more urgent than ever, and human activity is a main driver of this loss. Wildlife crimes are causing irreversible harm to biodiversity and society. The poaching and trafficking of endangered wildlife species such as rhinos, elephants and pangolins occurs on a truly industrial scale. Criminal networks transnationally organised along the supply chain, from Africa to Asia, are perpetuating the trafficking that is endangering pangolins, elephants, rhinos and many other species. Because of the current lack of political will and law enforcement capacity, transnational organised wildlife crime is a low-risk for high-rewards crime.

Fondation Segré is supporting this project implemented by Wildlife Justice Commission (WJC) to conduct its investigations on ivory, rhino horn and pangolin focusing on Mozambique, Vietnam and Nigeria. These investigations are conducted jointly because these species are commonly traded together by organised criminal networks and go through similar trafficking routes.

The WJC’s mission is to disrupt and help dismantle organised trafficking networks dealing in wildlife. WJC has already established several links regarding the organised trafficking of these species. The WJC has developed a close working relationship with the Environmental Police in Vietnam and with the National Administration of Conservation Areas (ANAC) and the National Criminal Investigations Service (SERNIC) in Mozambique. Across both countries, this cooperation has resulted in a series of arrests and significant seizure of ivory, rhino horns and pangolin scales. The WJC will continue to work with the law enforcement authorities to action the intelligence obtained through its investigations and analysis to secure more results. Furthermore, the project will enable the WJC to develop its understanding of the trafficking in Nigeria, an emerging trafficking hotspot, which is crucial to understand the current dynamics of wildlife trafficking. When relevant, intelligence obtained in one country will be shared with law enforcement in another to provide national law enforcement authorities with a transnational perspective and therefore maximise the disruption of the networks.

This new project is an expansion of our previous support to WJC related to pangolin trafficking network in South-East Asia. You can read more about our previous support to WJC here.