Wildlife crime includes any form of illegal exploitation and trade in wild fauna and flora. Over the years, this menace has had direct and indirect impacts on Africa’s natural resources and heritage as well as the continent’s legal and sustainable use of wildlife and potential revenue. It remains the greatest threat to populations of endangered wild species and has wide-ranging indirect impacts on African societies, economies, and environment. Illegal trade in wild fauna and flora leads to revenue losses in Millions of dollars in Africa and extreme poverty mostly for rural communities.
Assessing the extent of the illegal wildlife trade is difficult due to the clandestine nature of illicit activity. The UN Environment estimates illegal trade in wildlife globally to be between worth US$7 billion to US$23 billion while The African Development Bank estimates Illegal trade in the forest sector to be about US$13 billion (AfDB).
These estimates make the illegal wildlife trade to be one of the most profitable illicit trafficking industries behind the trafficking of drugs, guns, and humans.