Wildlife trafficking – the poaching or taking of protected or managed species and the illegal trade in wildlife and their related parts and products – has escalated into an international crisis. Wildlife trafficking is both a critical conservation concern and a threat to global security with significant effects on the national interests of the United States and the interests of our partners around the world. Through the Combating Wildlife Trafficking (CWT) Program, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's International Affairs Program supports innovative projects to halt wildlife trafficking, providing a lifeline to the many species worldwide threatened by illegal trade.

What We Do

Our Laws and Regulations

Recognizing the urgent need for a coordinated response to this growing global crisis, the United States issued the National Strategy to Combat Wildlife Trafficking in 2014. This strategy sets forth a robust, whole-of-government approach that focuses on three key objectives to stop illegal wildlife trade – strengthening enforcement, reducing demand for illegally traded wildlife, and expanding international cooperation. The National Strategy was further reinforced by the Eliminate, Neutralize, and Disrupt (END) Wildlife Trafficking Act, passed in 2016 with bipartisan support, and by Executive Order 13773, signed on February 9, 2017, calling for a comprehensive and decisive approach to dismantle organized crime syndicates, including those associated with wildlife trafficking.  

Our Services

Through the CWT Program, we provide financial and technical support around the globe to projects that deliver measurable conservation results for the protection of trafficked plants and animals.

Pursuing an evidence-based approach, we publish strategically developed taxonomic, geographical, and thematic priorities in a Notice of Funding Opportunity. All proposals go through a rigorous and competitive evaluation process. Once project support is confirmed, we engage in a partnership with the grantee, providing technical support as needed, communicating on a regular basis, and playing an active role in monitoring and evaluating the project's success. This helps ensure that our limited funding is effective and enables us to improve the impact of the Combating Wildlife Trafficking Branch’s financial assistance program through adaptive management. 

Species Conservation Catalyst Fund 

The Species Conservation Catalyst Fund (SCCF) is a new ‘conservation accelerator’ funding initiative that supports recipients to provide a more empirical understanding of trafficking contexts and/or carry out activities that reduce the threat of trafficking to species populations. The first species supported through the SCCF are saiga antelope in Central Asia and Mongolia, and cheetah in the Horn of Africa.