Cleveland Metroparks Zoo is securing a future for wildlife around the world by tackling today’s most pressing conservation threats and addressing the complex human-wildlife issues that are key to the long-term survival of wildlife and habitats. We support, develop and implement collaborative conservation projects that protect species today, and benefit habitats, wildlife and local people into the future. Protecting wildlife populations from immediate threats often includes those that result from human activities such as unsustainable use, poaching and illegal trade. Illegal wildlife trade is a complex political, social, economic, and environmental issue with global implications and significant human and wildlife impacts. The Zoo combats illegal wildlife trade through support of strategic interventions at all points in the illegal wildlife trade chain, from collector to consumer. This involves anti-poaching, legislation and political action, law enforcement and regulatory support, data-driven analysis and reporting, large-scale education and awareness building, and efforts that target personal advocacy and consumer behavior change.
The Zoo’s Future for Wildlife program addresses the illegal trade in wildlife with partners in Southeast Asia, East Africa, and the U.S. by directly combatting poaching and trafficking, supporting legislative and law enforcement efforts, and engaging, educating and empowering the public and consumers.
The Zoo is working to stop illegal wildlife trade and combat wildlife crime in Vietnam through the support of Education for Nature-Vietnam (ENV). ENV works with law enforcement agencies to gather intelligence and investigate illegal wildlife trade cases and networks. ENV’s National Wildlife Crime Hotline, outreach and awareness campaigns actively engage the public in combating wildlife crime and reduce demand for wildlife products. Active advocacy efforts promote and help facilitate stronger legislation and legal protection for wildlife. ENV’s National Wildlife Protection Network volunteers monitor consumer wildlife trade hotspots and conduct valuable investigations that lead to documentation and effective resolution of wildlife crime cases.
The Zoo is targeting the trafficking of ivory, rhino horn and other illegal wildlife products in transit through the support of the African Wildlife Foundation Canines for Conservation program. The program trains and deploys sniffer dogs and handlers to strategic transport points. This program increases seizure rates, deters traffickers, and intercepts and confiscates smuggled wildlife products headed for transit countries and destined for consumer markets. Law enforcement officers are further trained on wildlife law and investigative skills to help ensure proper collection of evidence to support prosecution.
The Zoo is working with a number of in-country partners in Malaysia and Indonesia to strategically monitor, analyze and publish information on wildlife trade in the region. Marketplace and online studies based on systematic data collection and analysis document trade activity and trends over time, help target law enforcement efforts, and generate data-supported evidence of illegal trade routes and networks. Making published results available to government agencies, conservation organizations and the media increases public and political awareness and can instigate government action and support legislative advocacy.
Wildlife trafficking is a global crisis and working right here in the U.S. is a critical part of international efforts to combat it. The Zoo is proud to be a platinum partner of the Wildlife Trafficking Alliance and a member of this active coalition that is working together to reduce the purchase and sale of illegal wildlife and wildlife products.
The Wildlife Trafficking Alliance is a coalition of corporate and non-profit organizations 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. The Alliance works with more than 70 supporters whose active engagement is essential to the success of the Alliance goals. Help us combat wildlife trafficking, sign up to be a Partner today.