University of Oulu

Mozer, A., & Prost, S. (2023). An introduction to illegal wildlife trade and its effects on biodiversity and society. Forensic Science International: Animals and Environments, 3, 100064.

An introduction to illegal wildlife trade and its effects on biodiversity and society

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Author: Mozer, Annika1; Prost, Stefan2,3,4
Organizations: 1Leibniz Institute for the Analysis of Biodiversity Change, Museum Koenig, Adenauerallee 127, 53113 Bonn, Germany
2Ecology and Genetics Research Unit, University of Oulu, P.O. Box 3000, 90014 Oulu, Finland
3Natural History Museum, Vienna, Central Research Laboratories, Burgring 7, 1010 Vienna, Austria
4South African National Biodiversity Institute, National Zoological Garden, 232 Boom Street, Pretoria 0002, South Africa
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.5 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Elsevier, 2023
Publish Date: 2023-10-19


Illegal Wildlife Trade (IWT) is among the most lucrative illegal industries in the world. Its consequences go far beyond direct effects on the species in trade. In this review, we outline the basics of IWT and discuss its cascading consequences on environments, human lives and communities, national stability, and the economy. In addition, we outline structures used in IWT, from subsistence and local use to more complicated configurations, which can include multiple players. Furthermore, while a small fraction of poaching is opportunistic, most of the international IWT is run by organised crime groups. We outline how IWT can be associated with many different crimes like drug trafficking, corruption, or whitewashing. Additionally, many studies have observed a rapidly increasing trend of online trade with endangered and protected species. Moreover, this review gives a short overview of the situation in the European Union (EU) regarding laws and implementation of CITES and highlights that the EU acts as a major source, transit hub, and consumer in IWT. To address the highly dynamic and complicated problem of IWT, research, knowledge exchange, funding, and collaborations in all fields are necessary.

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Series: Forensic science international. Animals and environments
ISSN: 2666-9374
ISSN-E: 2666-9374
ISSN-L: 2666-9374
Volume: 3
Article number: 100064
DOI: 10.1016/j.fsiae.2023.100064
Type of Publication: A2 Review article in a scientific journal
Field of Science: 1184 Genetics, developmental biology, physiology
Funding: A.M.'s work is funded through the FOGS project by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research under grant number 01LC1801A. S.P. is funded by the University of Oulu and the Academy of Finland Profi6 336449 programme “Biodiverse Anthropocenes”.
Copyright information: © 2023 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (