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Trends in Illegal Wildlife Trade

Resource Type
Dataset : administrative records data
  • Hitchens, Rosemary (Miami University)
  • Blakeslee, April (East Carolina University)
Publication Date
Free Keywords
illegal willdife trade; transnational crime; poaching; endangered species; wildlife enforcement; wildlife seizures
  • Abstract

    The illegal import of wildlife and wildlife products is a growing concern, and the U.S. is one of the world’s leading countries in the consumption and transit of illegal wildlife and their derivatives. Yet, few U.S. studies have analyzed the illegal wildlife trade (IWT) on a national or local scale. Moreover, few studies have examined the trends associated with IWT moving through personal baggage. This work aimed to better understand the magnitude of illegal wildlife importation into U.S. ports of entry by determining trends associated with illegal wildlife products from personal baggage seizures in the Pacific Northwest (PNW). To identify the most influential factors in determining the numbers and types of personal baggage seizures into PNW, we analyzed 1,731 records between 1999 and 2016 from the Fish and Wildlife Service’s (FWS) Law Enforcement Management Information System (LEMIS) database. We found five significant contributors: taxonomic Class of wildlife, categorical import date, wildlife product, source region, and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) status. While wildlife seizures across taxonomic categories have decreased in the PNW since 2008, other findings provide a reason for concern. Three main findings of this study include: (1) mammals make up the majority of seizures (2) temporal trends of wildlife seizures point to increases in seizures in many taxonomic groupings and (3) the majority of seizures originate from six regions, of which East Asia is the largest source. This work adds to the growing understanding of IWT through large-scale geographical seizure data using a highly important global port as our case study.
Temporal Coverage
  • 1996-01-01 / 2016-12-31
    Time Period: Mon Jan 01 00:00:00 EST 1996--Sat Dec 31 00:00:00 EST 2016
  • 2016-08-11 / 2016-10-06
    Collection Date(s): Thu Aug 11 00:00:00 EDT 2016--Thu Oct 06 00:00:00 EDT 2016
Geographic Coverage
  • Global
  • Pacific Northwest
Sampled Universe
All seized wildlife illegally entering four PNW ports between 1999 and 2016. Smallest Geographic Unit: Pacific Northwest Port of Entry

Update Metadata: 2019-12-11 | Issue Number: 1 | Registration Date: 2019-12-11

Hitchens, Rosemary; Blakeslee, April (2019): Trends in Illegal Wildlife Trade. Version: 1. ICPSR - Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research. Dataset.