Wildlife Trafficking Crisis

Summary of the Wildlife Trafficking Crisis 

Wildlife trafficking is an international crisis.  An unprecedented global demand for exotic wildlife and wildlife products has triggered an industrial-scale killing spree of endangered species, including tigers, rhinos, elephants, great apes and sea turtles. 

Populations of endangered species have plummeted over the past decade, yet illegal trade shows no indication of slowing down.  A recent World Wildlife Fund report shows that we have already lost 58% of endangered wildlife in the past four decades; and by 2020, we may lose two-thirds.  African savanna elephant populations are down 30% in the last seven years; rhino populations are being decimated at rates of more than 1,000 killings per year in South Africa; less than 3,900 tigers remain in the wild; and nearly all species of sea turtles are now classified as endangered. 

Wildlife experts are in consensus that if we don’t act quickly, trafficking will wipe out many endangered species in our lifetime.  But most importantly, we must act together.  


About the Wildlife Trafficking Alliance 

WTA is a coalition of more than sixty corporations, non-profit organizations, and AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums all working together to combat wildlife trafficking by raising public awareness, reducing consumer demand for illegal wildlife and wildlife products, and mobilizing companies in a variety of sectors to adopt best practices to stop wildlife trafficking.  To learn more, visit www.WildlifeTraffickingAlliance.org

Be Informed, #BuyInformed 

Because consumer demand for animal products is fueling the illegal trade, the killings will continue as long as there is demand in major global markets for illegal wildlife products. Consumers hold the key to ending trafficking and helping to save the world’s most iconic species for the benefit of generations to come.  Visit uswta.org/buyinformed/ to learn how you can learn how to be an informed consumer. 


Public-Private Partnerships to Combat Wildlife Trafficking 

The Wildlife Trafficking Alliance was established in July 2015 as a unique public-private collaboration to combat the illegal wildlife trade.  Since its formation, the Alliance has made enormous progress in building an effective coalition to tackle the poaching epidemic.  Over sixty organizations have joined our efforts, including companies, non-profit organizations, and AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums.  

In early 2018, the Wildlife Trafficking Alliance and the Association of Zoos & Aquariums joined forces in a united effort to combat wildlife trafficking around the world.  WTA is now a program of AZA, working in partnership with AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums across the globe. 


WTA Partners Leading the Way

The Racine Zoo is working with the Wildlife Trafficking Alliance (WTA) to help combat wildlife trafficking and protect endangered species from illegal trade.  The WTA is a coalition of leading nonprofit organizations, companies, and AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums that are working together to combat wildlife trafficking by: (1) raising public awareness; (2) effecting behavior change to reduce consumer demand for wildlife and wildlife products; and (3) mobilizing companies to adopt best practices and help close off wildlife traffickers’ supply chains. 


About the Association of Zoos & Aquariums 

Founded in 1924, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement of zoos and aquariums in the areas of conservation, animal welfare, education, science, and recreation. AZA is the accrediting body for the top zoos and aquariums in the United States and eight other countries. Look for the AZA accreditation logo whenever you visit a zoo or aquarium as your assurance that you are supporting a facility dedicated to providing excellent care for animals, a great experience for you, and a better future for all living things. The AZA is a leader in saving species and your link to helping animals all over the world. To learn more, visit www.aza.org


About WildAid 

WildAid is a non-profit organization with a mission to end the illegal wildlife trade in our lifetimes. While most wildlife conservation groups focus on protecting animals from poaching, WildAid primarily works to reduce global consumption of wildlife products such as elephant ivory, rhino horn, and shark fin soup. With an unrivaled portfolio of celebrity ambassadors and a global network of media partners, WildAid leverages nearly $230 million in annual pro-bono media support with a simple message: When the Buying Stops, the Killing Can Too.