Wildlife crime has become a big business. Worldwide, the value of the illegal wildlife trade is estimated to have doubled in the last five years, to $10 billion(US) annually. As organized criminal networks span the globe to illegally harvest wildlife and bring it to illicit markets, wildlife enforcement agencies have increased collaboration in a united effort to thwart this activity. Environment Canada (EC) has taken on an increased leadership in this fight, as two of its senior enforcement officials were appointed in November 2013 to key positions within INTERPOL’s Environmental Compliance and Enforcement Committee (ECEC). Gord Owen, EC’s Chief Enforcement Officer, was named a delegate to the executive level advisory board of the ECEC, while Sheldon Jordan, Director General of EC’s Wildlife Enforcement Directorate, was named as the Chair of INTERPOL’s Wildlife Crime Working Group.
In February 2014, The London Conference on Illegal Wildlife Trade concluded with a Declaration that highlights several specific actions that governments must take to protect wildlife. One of these directs governments to:
“Strengthen cross-border and regional co-operation, through better coordination, and through full support for regional wildlife law enforcement networks.”