For over 10 years, USAID’s Regional Development Mission for Asia has been working to counter wildlife trafficking in the region. This new activity supports efforts to strengthen law enforcement of wildlife crimes, reduce demand for illegally traded wildlife and foster international cooperation to combating wildlife crime. The activity builds on ASEAN member states’ commitment to introduce and enforce wildlife crime laws and promote international involvement in biodiversity conservation.

African elephant in its habitat. Copyright: Salvatore Amato

The goal of USAID Wildlife Asia is:

The surging demand and the lucrative prices of wildlife products are driving the drastic decline in species such as elephants, rhinos and tigers. Through this Activity, USAID reduces this demand by communicating, mobilizing and advocating ways to build new social norms around the use of wildlife products. The interventions include targeted behavior change campaigns using proven social marketing and social and behavior change communication tools. Anti-wildlife trafficking messages are broadcasted widely via billboards and posters at high-traffic sites such as airports, public service announcements and online videos.

USAID strengthens regional law enforcement agencies to effectively locate, apprehend and prosecute illegal wildlife traffickers while improving the policy and regulatory environment to combat wildlife crime. USAID engages with Asian governments and partners to help harmonize regional laws and penalties for wildlife crime, strengthen laws where necessary and support judges and lawyers to bring more cases to court.

While ASEAN member states have made progress in addressing wildlife crimes over the past decade, additional support is needed to build and increase momentum around counter wildlife trafficking efforts. USAID supports these efforts in Asia and Africa, providing a regional platform for information sharing, communication, planning and convening other administrative support. Host countries can further their commitments to combat wildlife crime by sharing data and trends and collaborating with key stakeholders in the region.

The USAID Wildlife Asia team applies evidence-based methods and proven technology that drive effective, collaborative decision-making and innovative initiatives across an integrated regional structure. It builds on established relationships in a cross-sectoral, cross-agency approach to end wildlife crime throughout Cambodia, China, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam.