Illegal Wildlife Trade

The Basel Institute is leading a multi-disciplinary programme of work focused on intelligence-led action against financial crime in the illegal wildlife trade (IWT).

Corruption and financial crime are key facilitators of the multibillion-dollar illegal trade in ivory, rhino horn and other wildlife products, from bribing officials to laundering profits. 

Efforts to tackle financial crime and strengthen law enforcement in relation to IWT can greatly help to reduce the trade. That requires more effective, more systematic use of intelligence and coordination across public, private and non-governmental sector actors.

Working with key financial institutions, law enforcement partners and others, we seek to strengthen the investigation and prosecution of transnational IWT-related financial crimes, produce actionable intelligence on criminal networks and cooperate regionally and internationally in these efforts.

We are proud signatories of the Buckingham Palace Declaration and Mansion House Declaration of the United for Wildlife Transport Taskforce and Financial Taskforce respectively. We actively support their efforts to assist and advance private sector action against wildlife trafficking through a number of activities, and especially through the role of implementing partner of the UfW Taskforce Information Sharing System, which provides intelligence on wildlife trafficking to members of both Taskforces.

Timothy Wittig

Senior IWT Specialist

Our donors


The Elephant Crisis Fund (ECF), established in May 2013, is a joint initiative of Save the Elephants and the Wildlife Conservation Network, initiated to address the ivory crisis by providing emergency funding to partners working in the areas of anti-poaching, anti-trafficking and demand deduction. The ECF has the speed and efficiency to react quickly to threats to vulnerable populations of African elephants, aiming for rapid impact and also for collaboration between organisations.


PMI IMPACT is a global initiative to support public, private, and nongovernmental organisations to develop and implement projects against illegal trade and related crimes. The initiative was launched in 2016 by Philip Morris International (PMI), which has pledged USD 100 million to fund the first three rounds of grants.