The illegal wildlife trade, also known as wildlife trafficking, is devastating for wildlife and human communities around the world. Increasing demand for wild animals and their parts threatens hundreds of species, such as elephants, tigers, pangolins, and macaws. Wildlife trafficking benefits from corruption and weak governance along the trade chain, and it further weakens rule of law and security for communities living alongside wildlife and wild places.
WCS began to work with government partners to combat transnational wildlife trafficking in Cambodia in 2014. Cambodia has emerged as a transit country for shipments of elephant ivory, rhino horn, pangolin scales and big cat bones, which are being trafficked by criminal groups from Africa to Asia. It is also a source country for many wildlife species, including ungulates, turtles, pangolins primates, cats and carnivores, that may be consumed domestically or trafficked across nearby international borders.
WCS’s goal is to dismantle wildlife trafficking networks that drive the illegal hunting and illegal trade of threatened and protected species.
We seek to do this by strengthening the enforcement and judicial response to wildlife trafficking in Cambodia, through:
- Raising awareness of the seriousness of wildlife trafficking as a crime amongst government agencies and the general public, and strengthening the commitment of government agencies to combat wildlife trafficking
- Supporting the development and implementation of legislation and effective policies and procedures to combat wildlife trafficking (including CITES and Cambodia’s National Ivory Action Plan)
- Building capacity and cooperation of enforcement and judicial agencies to investigate and prosecute wildlife trafficking cases
- Gathering information to understanding wildlife trafficking networks
- Providing technical support and assistance to enforcement agencies and the judiciary on wildlife trafficking cases
WCS focuses our work primarily on species that are being trafficked from Africa to Asia, but also on species that are of high commercial value and heavily exploited within the region, such as freshwater turtles and tortoises. We work at the national level with several ministries and agencies with the mandate to combat wildlife trafficking, and at the subnational level focusing on enforcement agencies working at hotspots of trafficking such as international ports, airports and border crossings.
This work is funded by the UK Government through the Illegal Wildlife Trade Challenge Fund, the U.S. Department of State, the GIZ commissioned by the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany, and the European Union.