In recent years, big game poaching in sub-Saharan Africa has seen growing professionalization, largely controlled by organized crime. In 2017, more than 1,000 rhinos were poached in South Africa, over 20,000 elephants Africa-wide.
The demand for ivory and rhino horn is driven by economic growth, particularly in Asian countries like China, Vietnam and Thailand. The poaching crisis has implications for the conservation of these endangered species and for the economic basis and security of the affected countries. High profit margins and weak governance provide a breeding ground for corruption along the entire illegal trade chain.
Objective and impact assessment
The project aims at improving measures to combat poaching and the illicit trade in ivory and rhino horn on a cross-sectoral, cross-border and transcontinental level. It combines the expertise and resources of five German ministries, international organizations and NGOs. It works along the entire illegal trade chain, from the countries of origin and transit in Africa to the consumers (mainly in Asia). It pursues the objective of simultaneously influencing supply and demand while linking necessary short-term interventions with long-term development measures. Transformation processes will be triggered at key stages of the illegal trade chain in order to enhance the protection of species, reduce illegal trade and decrease demand.
Country: global, with a focus on sub-Saharan Africa and Asia
Overall term: 2017 to 2021
Partners in China: CITES-Management Authority China, National Inter-Agency CITES Enforcement Coordination Group (NICE-CG), Chinese Chamber of Commerce, TRAFFIC, WCS, Alibaba, Tencent, other private sector actors from the tourism and logistics sectors
Cooperation with China
The project supports diverse measures to enhance law enforcement in order to tackle poaching and illegal trade in source and transit countries and to reduce demand by changing behaviors among the mainly Asian consumers.
Those approaches include activities in China such as awareness raising and behavioral change campaigns targeted towards the business sector, influential leaders and Chinese citizens living in Africa. Chinese companies operating in art, e-commerce, tourism or transport/logistics are supported in drawing up and disseminating codes of conduct and zero tolerance guidelines. In cooperation with Chinese embassies in Africa, Chinese communities in Africa were informed about the negative consequences of illegal wildlife trade and about legal consequences in Africa and China. Furthermore, the project supports Chinese customs and the anti-smuggling department in providing trainings on CITES implementation and cross-border cooperation.
Information and data on consumption trends are compiled through market monitoring and surveys. As illegal trade is increasingly organized in social networks, the project, for example, cooperates with internet-based companies such as Alibaba and Tencent/WeChat. These businesses have committed to deleting sales offers of illegal wildlife products continuously on their online platforms.
The project supported the placement of the issue on the agenda of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in 2015 and 2018, which included tackling poaching and illegal wildlife trade for the first time in 2015 in its decisions and provides a platform for fostering the cooperation between African source and Asian destination countries. In addition, further collaboration on measures resulting from the closing of China’s national ivory markets are currently being piloted, for example, measures to improve cross-border cooperation on law enforcement between China and its neighboring countries to prevent a shift in markets.