© Lee Poston / WWF-Greater Mekong

Illegal Wildlife Trade in the Greater Mekong

The Greater Mekong is a global hub for illegal wildlife trade

The region is a perfect storm -- a source, transit route, and final destination for many of the world's most valuable and threatened wildlife species. This multi-million dollar trade significantly threatens the survival of WWF priority species, including tigers, Asian and African elephants, and all rhino species.

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© Martin HARVEY / WWF
Closing Time for the Greater Mekong's Wildlife Markets

Growing wealth among the middle class across the Greater Mekong and in neighboring China means demand for iconic wildlife species is accelerating. The Illegal Wildlife Trade (IWT) occurs across the region, from remote corners of Myanmar and Laos, to markets in Bangkok and Hanoi, and caters to both domestic and international consumers.

Tackling this transboundary trade requires a transboundary approach, and WWF Greater Mekong is implementing an ambitious regional program to combat IWT in all five Greater Mekong countries. From improving cross border cooperation between wildlife enforcement agencies in the Golden Triangle, to implementing targeted demand reduction campaigns, WWF Greater Mekong is using a multi-faceted approach to fight the illicit trade in wild animals and their parts.

Collaboration is the Key

By building partnerships with governments, NGOs, and intergovernmental organizations working on wildlife trafficking, WWF Greater Mekong is aiming to leverage commitments to close illegal wildlife markets, and simultaneously provide the information, skills, and tools needed for effective action - the kind that is needed if we are to stop the staggering global decline in species such as tigers, elephants, rhinos, and pangolins.

© Ola Jennersten / WWF-Sweden
At least 20,000 elephants are killed in Africa every year, their tusks taken to supply Asian ivory markets. WWF is working to end this trade.

Closing Asia's Ivory Markets

Closing Asia's Ivory Markets

© WWF Myanmar

Consumers of Illegal Wildlife Parts and Products in Myanmar

Myanmar has 278 species assessed in the IUCN Red List as threatened vertebrates. Unfortunately, the illegal wildlife trade is a key threat to the country’s wildlife. Previous studies have documented wildlife markets in Myanmar, but very little attention has been paid to the domestic consumption of wildlife. This study, commissioned by WWF and carried out by Kantar, highlights the drivers of domestic trade and consumption and identifies strategies to fight this illicit trade.

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