As part of our work to fight wildlife trafficking, Defenders focuses on domestic law enforcement and reducing consumer demand for illegal wildlife and products here in the U.S. To do this, we analyze data on wildlife illegally imported to the United States from other parts of the world to identify patterns of trade and hotspots for illegal imports. This information helps us propose and put into action more effective and efficient policies to combat wildlife trafficking.
Wildlife Trafficking from Latin America to the United States
Latin America experiences the same perfect storm of factors that have led to rampant wildlife trafficking in other regions of the world: The region is home to many developing countries, has thousands of endemic and endangered species, and struggles with corruption and enforcement. Consequently, the United Nations has identified Latin America as a priority region in combating wildlife crime.
To focus much needed attention on this wildlife trafficking crisis and to better understand the links between the United States and Latin America, Defenders of Wildlife analyzed data collected by one of the most comprehensive wildlife trade monitoring systems in the world, the Law Enforcement Management Information System (LEMIS), to identify trade routes, most commonly trafficked animals and products, the capacity of law enforcement to handle the problem, and more.