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Commerce illégale d'espèces sauvages

What is illegal wildlife trade?

26 September 2023

The illegal wildlife trade involves the buying and selling of wild animals, their parts and derived products – such as ivory, rhinoceros horn and pangolin scales – which are either prohibited by law or controlled by international agreements. The demand for rare or exotic species is at the root of this illegal trade.

Unfortunately, illegal wildlife trade has serious consequences. It has a considerable impact on wild species. Trade in threatened species is particularly damaging, as it can lead to their extinction.

To reduce illegal wildlife trade, governments around the world are taking steps to crack down on this illegal activity. Law enforcement agencies have been deployed to apprehend criminals involved in this type of trafficking.


The drivers of the illegal wildlife trade

The illegal wildlife trade is driven by a variety of factors, including economic demand (for exotic pets or bushmeat), traditional medicine and religious beliefs. In addition, demand for luxury products derived from endangered species, such as ivory or rhinoceros horn, fuels this illegal activity.

Poverty and weak law enforcement contribute to the illegal exploitation of wildlife. Indeed, people living in poverty may be more inclined to engage in activities that are illegal but provide a source of income.


The consequences of illegal wildlife trade

Illegal wildlife trade has a negative impact on wild species and their habitats. It leads to the over-exploitation of target species, reduces biodiversity, disturbs ecosystems and can even lead to the extinction of certain species.

This illegal activity also contributes to the spread of diseases such as COVID-19 by bringing together animals from different localities and facilitating access to drinking water.


The fight against illegal wildlife trade

To combat the illegal wildlife trade, governments around the world have taken steps to strengthen law enforcement and increase penalties for those convicted of this crime. International agreements such as CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) have been established to combat illegal wildlife trade. Organisations such as the World Wildlife Fund are campaigning to raise public awareness of the problem.

In addition, governments have implemented measures to reduce consumer demand for wildlife products, such as campaigns to change attitudes towards the use of animal products or price increases for certain commodities. Finally, some countries have introduced economic incentives for communities that protect threatened species and their habitats.



The illegal wildlife trade affects thousands of species around the world, jeopardising their survival in the wild. It is therefore essential to raise awareness of this activity and its impact on biodiversity. Everyone can play a part by refusing to buy products derived from wild animals or by supporting conservation initiatives. By doing so, we can help to protect our planet’s precious flora and fauna.

References :

  • World Wildlife Fund. https://wwf.org.uk
  • Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. https://cites.org/
Nicolas Koutsikas - GeoramaTV

Nicolas Koutsikas est un auteur, réalisateur et producteur de films documentaires basé en France. Il travaille dans ce domaine depuis plus de 30 ans. Avec sa société de production Georama TV, co-fondée en 2007 avec Émeraude Zervoudis, il a une longue expérience des questions environnementales au niveau mondial.

Nicolas Koutsikas - GeoramaTV

Nicolas Koutsikas is a writer, director and producer of documentary films based in France. He has been working in this field for over 30 years. With his production company Georama TV, co-founded in 2007 with Émeraude Zervoudis, he has extensive experience of environmental issues worldwide.