Illegal Wildlife Trade and Climate Change

Mains Marks Booster     31st July 2023        

Context: Deforestation in the Amazon rainforest, driven in part by illegal logging contributes to the release of approximately 500 million metric tons of carbon dioxide annually. (source: Rainforest Foundation).

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) recently published a report titled 'Joining the dots: Illegal wildlife trade and Climate Change.

Introduction: Illegal wildlife trade: Illegal wildlife trade refers to the illegal activities involving the capture, collection, transport, and trade of wildlife and their products, including live animals, animal parts, and derivatives. 

Illegal Wildlife Trade Impact on Climate Change:

  • Deforestation: Illegal logging for timber and conversion of forests to agricultural land contribute to deforestation, releasing carbon dioxide and reducing carbon sinks.
  • Carbon Storage: Large-bodied species targeted in the illegal wildlife trade, such as elephants, play a crucial role in carbon storage through their interactions with vegetation and soil.
  • Disrupted Ecosystems: Illegal trade disrupts ecosystems, impacting their ability to sequester carbon and maintain ecological balance.

How climate change impacts on illegal wildlife trade?

impact of climate change

Integrated solutions for addressing illegal wildlife trade and climate change

  • Sustainable land-use planning: Integrate wildlife conservation and climate change considerations into land-use planning by designating protected areas and promoting sustainable agriculture to reduce deforestation and habitat conversion.
  • Strengthened law enforcement and regulation: Enforce stricter penalties and regulations, including CITES, to discourage illegal activities.
  • Promotion of sustainable alternatives and livelihoods: like community-based ecotourism, reducing reliance on illegal wildlife trade, and contributing to climate change mitigation. 
  • Enhanced conservation efforts and habitat protection: Safeguard crucial habitats such as rainforests and coral reefs, which play a vital role in carbon sequestration
  • Technology-driven solutions for monitoring and enforcement: Utilize advanced technologies such as DNA testing and satellite imagery 
  • Effective international border management and combatting organized crimes: taking inspiration from examples like the India-Myanmar border, to tackle organized crimes related to this illicit trade


Tackling the issues of illegal wildlife trade and climate change is crucial for sustainable development and preventing the sixth mass extinction. By addressing these interconnected challenges, we can protect biodiversity, mitigate climate impacts, and secure a more sustainable future for our planet.

                                                     Extra Marks Fetching component by theIAShub

Efforts to control illegal Wild life trade

  • Operation Save Kurma: An operation by Wildlife Crime Control Bureau to save Turtles
  • Operation Thunderbird: It is code-name for INTERPOL’s multi-national and multi-species enforcement operation