Illegal wildlife trade is the greatest direct threat to the future of many of the world’s most iconic species. With your action we can help in the fight against illegal wildlife trade.


Illegal wildlife trade is the sale or exchange of wild animal and plant resources that are protected by international trade law.  The species is more often than not threatened with extinction and protected by international trade law, making it extremely illegal to take them from their natural habitat and to use them in trade.

It can include live animals and plants or a range of products sought after by humans – including animal skins, medicines, luxury food, horns and other trophy parts or fashion items. They can also be illegally kept as pets.

Illegal wildlife trade impacts thousands of species and is the fourth most lucrative international crime after drugs, arms and human trafficking and is worth $19 billion annually!  The animals and plants that tend to be involved in the illegal wildlife trade are often already highly threatened and in danger of extinction. On top of that the conditions in which the animals are captured or transported are often horrific; poachers are killing rhinos for their horn, but sometimes don’t even wait for the rhino to die before hacking away the horn!


Knowing what illegal wildlife trade is and how it’s affecting precious wildlife around the world is a step towards helping to stop it. The world is currently dealing with an unprecedented rise in the illegal wildlife trade. It is the greatest direct threat to the future of many of the world’s most iconic species. If you witness any illegal wildlife trade activity, whether in the UK or when you’re travelling to different countries, you can then report it to the relevant authorities.


How else can I help? 

By becoming a member with Chester Zoo, you can make a difference to the animals suffering in the illegal wildlife trade. Our dedicated conservation team works tirelessly to PROTECT all our planet’s wonderful species, but we can’t do it alone. When you take out a membership with Chester Zoo, it allows us to carry on our conservation work here at the zoo, as well as all around the world. There are countless benefits to becoming a member with Chester Zoo – not only for our members, but for the animals too.

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