Counter Wildlife Trafficking

Illegal wildlife trade is a complex and dynamic conservation challenge with far-reaching negative implications. It imperils biodiversity, poses risks to human health, diminishes cultural heritage, and undermines lawful governance and economies. 

India being a source, transit, and destination country requires urgent efforts to combat this issue. The Counter Wildlife Trafficking (CWT) Programme was initiated in 2018 to address this, working across landscapes and species in the country. Our goal is to conserve wildlife threatened by trafficking through evidence-based approaches and collaborations with stakeholders.

Through collaboration with law enforcement agencies, the judiciary, community groups and members, and other stakeholders, we have focused our efforts in parts of Northeast India, Southern India, and Central India. Our work has included monitoring open-source information to map trade dynamics, legal analysis to document patterns in wildlife crime, capacity-development of enforcement agencies, technical support to aid enforcement, and creating and disseminating IWT resources, including manuals and films.

We continue to adapt to tackle the wicked problem of illegal wildlife trade. Our current approaches are multidisciplinary and rooted in robust evidence-building​ to develop effective context and location-specific mitigation measures. We also believe in strategic communication and outreach to foster awareness and contribute to the larger pool of knowledge on the subject.






Recent Publications

  • Sengottuvel, R. R., Mendis, A., Sultan, N., Shukla, S., Chaudhuri, A., & Mendiratta, U. (2023). From pets to plates: network analysis of trafficking in tortoises and freshwater turtles representing different types of demand. Oryx58(1), 78–89. Link
  • Lewis, R., Deshpande, K., Mendis, A., Patankar, V. & Mendiratta, U. (2022) Illegal trade of marine species in India: 2015-2021. Wildlife Conservation Society – India Report, DOI: 10.19121/2020.Report.43707. Link
  • Mendis, A., Nikita, V.M., Ramya Roopa, S., Sultan, N., Shukla, S., Lewis, R., Deshpande, K., Balaji, K., Karve, A. & Mendiratta, U. (2021) Media-reported wildlife poaching and illegal trade in India: 2020. Wildlife Conservation Society-India Report. Link


Credits: Illustration - Aditi Rajan (cover) | Photos - Anirban Chaudhuri, Nirmal Kulkarni






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