Peru Approves 10 Year Strategy to Combat Wildlife Trafficking

August 21, 2017

Birds rescued from trafficking in Peru. Credit: SERFOR

Birds rescued from trafficking in Peru. Credit: SERFOR

Working in partnership with over 20 organizations and partners, the Peruvian government has formally approved a new strategy to combat wildlife trafficking. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has supported the development of this strategy through several grants to our partners at Wildlife Conservation Society Peru (WCS). We applaud Peru for adopting and implementing this strategy, which will help protect endangered wildlife.

According to Peru’s National Forestry and Wildlife Agency (SERFOR), the most trafficked groups of animals in Peru include birds, amphibians like the Giant Titicaca Lake frog, and reptiles like boa constrictors, iguanas, lizards, and turtles. Based on an analysis of available data, WCS concluded that 2000 birds can be sold illegally in Peru in just one day.

SERFOR explains that “the main trafficking routes are in Lima and the north of the country, with destinations in Europe: the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, Switzerland, France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, and Spain; Asia: Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan and the Philippines; North America: United States and Canada.”

While the strategy has now been formally adopted, Peruvian law enforcement agencies and conservation groups have been working to combat trafficking for some time. For instance in April of this year, 29 Galapagos Tortoises were rescued from smuggling by Peruvian law enforcement officials in the north of Peru. There have also been efforts to build public awareness about the impact of wildlife trafficking, and a sustained national campaign is in development. A short pilot project by WCS on Facebook in December of 2015 was successful and reached nearly 250,000 people.

Diego Coll, Communicatiors Coordinator for WCS, said that “The topic of trafficking has a lot of potential to be tackled from a communications perspective, in part because it’s easy to generate empathy with animals and also because in a campaign related to the trafficking of animals, we can say without fear of being wrong that the solution to the problem is people—and that we all can be part of the solution.”

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service looks forward to continuing to support this critical work in Peru. Current grants are helping to strengthen wildlife law enforcement and monitoring, design and pilot-test an integrated database that can be shared with the country of Ecuador and potentially other regional nations, curtail the wildlife pet trade in key urban centers through communications campaigns, and investigate and disrupt illegal trade routes.