World Wildlife Crime Report

The trafficking of wildlife is increasingly recognized as both a specialized area of organized crime and a significant threat to many plant and animal species. The World Wildlife Crime Report takes stock of the present wildlife crime situation with a focus on illicit trafficking of specific protected species of wild fauna and flora, and provides a broad assessment of the nature and extent of the problem at the global level. It includes a quantitative market assessment and a series of in-depth illicit trade case studies.

The Wildlife Crime - Pangolin scales report is just one chapter of the upcoming World Wildlife Crime Report 2020, which provides similar discussions of several wildlife contraband markets. The full report will be launched in June 2020. The pangolin, a protected family of scaly anteaters found in both Asia and Africa, has long been used in traditional medicine on both continents.  Around 2015, a striking upswing in the volume of pangolin scales seized became evident. These scales appeared to be originating in West and Central Africa, trafficked to markets in East and Southeast Asia. The seizures alone evince the killing of over 100,000 pangolins for the illegal trade in both 2018 and 2019.  The actual number of pangolins killed and trafficked is much higher. Because they are solitary, reclusive, nocturnal animals, the number of pangolins left in the wild is unknown, but there can be little doubt that this rate of trafficking is not sustainable.

Wildlife Crime - Pangolin scales
Press release