The source or initial crime in the illegal wildlife trade chain is mostly committed beyond the shores of North America and Europe. However, the two regions continue to be massive destination markets and key transit hubs for illegal wildlife products. Illegal trade networks are shadowy and therefore problematic to study. This helps explain the wide valuation of illegal wildlife trade currently estimated by the Global Environment Facility (“GEF”) as ranging between 7 and 23 billion dollars per annum.
Policies and strategies to pre-empt or respond to illegal wildlife trade keep evolving as appreciation grows for the previously underestimated complexities, patterns and nuances of illegal wildlife trade (“IWT”). For instance, there now exists a broad consensus that illegal wildlife trade is a transnational organised crime and appropriate corresponding resources and efforts must be mustered to eliminate it. With that in mind, a declaration calling for dealing with illegal trade in wildlife as a serious transnational organized crime was signed by eighty countries during the 2018.
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