Emerging illegal wildlife trade issues: a global horizon scan

Nafeesa Esmail*, Bonnie C. Wintle, Michael t Sas-Rolfes, Andrea Athanas, Colin M. Beale, Zara Bending, Ran Dai, Michael Fabinyi, Sarah Gluszek, Cathy Haenlein, Lauren A. Harrington, Amy Hinsley, Kennedy Kariuki, Jack Lam, Matthew Markus, Kumar Paudel, Sofiya Shukhova, William J. Sutherland, Diogo Verissimo, Yifu WangJohn Waugh, Jon H. Wetton, Catherine Workman, Joss Wright, Eleanor J. Milner-Gulland

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Citations (Scopus)
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Illegal wildlife trade is gaining prominence as a threat to biodiversity, but addressing it remains challenging. To help inform proactive policy responses in the face of uncertainty, in 2018 we conducted a horizon scan of significant emerging issues. We built upon existing iterative horizon scanning methods, using an open and global participatory approach to evaluate and rank issues from a diverse range of sources. Prioritized issues related to three themes: developments in biological, information, and financial technologies; changing trends in demand and information; and socioeconomic, geopolitical shifts and influences. The issues covered areas ranging from changing demographic and economic factors to innovations in technology and communications that affect illegal wildlife trade markets globally; the top three issues related to China, illustrating its vital role in tackling emerging threats. This analysis can support national governments, international bodies, researchers, and nongovernmental organizations as they develop strategies for addressing the illegal wildlife trade.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12715
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalConservation Letters
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2020

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2020. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • Africa
  • conservation
  • East Asia
  • expanding trade networks
  • global policy trends
  • Latin America
  • misinformation
  • online platforms
  • strategic foresight
  • wildlife trafficking


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