Unprecedented global demand for exotic wildlife products results in indescribable suffering for animals caught in the trade, including the demise of endangered species. An illegal multibillion-dollar industry, wildlife trafficking benefits criminal networks and corrupt governments alike—all at the expense of innocent animals. It must end. And you can help.
Illegal wildlife trade is the fourth most lucrative trade globally, closely following guns, drugs, and human trafficking. Hundreds of millions of plants and animals are captured each year, then transported for trade on the black market. This tragedy isn't happening only on the other side of the world. In fact, the majority of illegal wildlife trade passes through US ports, and is driven by US-based consumer demand.
Bushmeat procured from poached mammals and reptiles
Medicines derived from traditional practices
Status items and clothing made from endangered species
Exotic pet ownership and/or exploitation for fee-based selfies
Animal suffering and death
Extinction of species and ecosystem impact
Relocated species may impact the well being of local wildlife
Incidental entrapment and death of nontargeted species
Spread of zoonotic disease to humans and animals
Loss of wildlife from native habitats curtails tourism, reducing income
Poachers are tied to criminal, terrorist, and corrupt organizations, compromising security throughout the targeted regions
Many brave men and women work hard to stop poaching by patrolling areas and removing snares. These rangers are working tirelessly, even during the COVID-19 pandemic, to ensure the safety of the animals they are protecting. The work is life threatening—in the last ten years alone, more than 1,000 rangers have been killed while protecting animals from trade.
Conversationists are curtailing demand by informing consumers about the impact of their choices, offering sustainable alternatives, and changing cultural views and public behaviors.
The fight to reduce procurement from natural habitats continues daily—from removing traps and thwarting poachers. Pushing for and achieving legislative changes that ensure poachers are charged aggressively, discourages participation in the trade.
Animals rescued from illegal trade need rehabilitation before they can be returned to the wild. Those that have become domesticated need long-term care and forever homes.
From conservation fund raising—through zoo ticket sales, membership fees, and events—to rescued animal rehabilitation and care, Oakland Zoo is dedicated to wildlife protection around the world. In April 2021, we opened The Illegal Wildlife Trade Center, an interactive exhibit designed to educate the public, and garner support for the organizations who fight every day to end this atrocious practice.
We conduct eco trips that bring hands, funds, and supplies to our global conservation partners in the field.
Zoo staff, docents, volunteers, Teen Wild Guides, and programs educate the community about conservation issues and opportunities.
We partner with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the Wildlife Trade Alliance, and AZA-accredited facilities to combat human and animal health risks exacerbated by illegal wildlife trade.
When wildlife is confiscated at local airports, seaports, and borders, law enforcement calls Oakland Zoo to care for it.
Originally victims of the illegal pet trade industry, our Fennec foxes, Aldabra tortoises, and Amazon macaws were rehabilitated at Oakland Zoo.
When we receive animals for rehabilitation, that we cannot accommodate longterm, we work with other accredited facilities to find forever homes.
Choose artisan items that support communities that live near wildlife sustainably.
Before you take a photo or click to share wildlife content, consider how an animal's wellbeing may be affected either locally or in the wild.
Be informed when you travel.