Traffic (conservation programme)

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International Organization
Founded 1976
Headquarters Cambridge, UK
Key people
  • John A Burton, first Director
  • Steven Broad, current Executive Director
Products TRAFFIC Bulletin, various reports
Number of employees
approx. 100 (worldwide)

TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network, is an international organization dedicated to ensuring that trade in wild plants and animals is not a threat to the conservation of nature.

TRAFFIC is a joint programme of World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and the World Conservation Union (IUCN). TRAFFIC also works in close co-operation with the Secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

Founded in 1976, TRAFFIC’s headquarters are now located in Cambridge, United Kingdom, and regional bases in Africa, Asia, the Americas, Europe and Oceania with national offices within these regions.

Since its formation, TRAFFIC has gained a reputation as a reliable and impartial organization, a leader in the field of conservation and how it relates to wildlife trade. It is a global network, research-driven and action-oriented, committed to delivering innovative and practical solutions based on the latest information.

The organization is sponsored by charitable foundations, private persons and other donors.


TRAFFIC was established as a specialist group of the IUCN Species Survival Commission in 1976, funded primarily by the Fauna Preservation Society (now Fauna and Flora International) and based in London's Soho district. TRAFFIC USA was formed in 1979, and the UK base operation became TRAFFIC International. Further TRAFFIC offices were established as follows: UK (1980), East Africa (1980–82), Germany (1981), Japan (1982), Australia (1984), Netherlands (1984), Belgium (1984), Austria (1986–1990), Italy (1986) and France (1987), South America regional office (1985), TRAFFIC Oceania (1987), TRAFFIC Europe (1990), TRAFFIC Southeast Asia (1991), TRAFFIC India (1991), South Africa (1992), Taipei (1992), Tanzania (1992), Kenya (1996), TRAFFIC East Asia (1994), Russia (1995), Canada (1998), TRAFFIC South America (1999), Mexico (2000). TRAFFIC North America evolved into a regional TRAFFIC North America office in 1998, and the Viet Nam office evolved into a sub-regional Indochina office in 2001.


  • 1976: TRAFFIC is founded by the WWF and IUCN.
  • 1978: TRAFFIC completes a major study of trade in seal products.
  • 1979: TRAFFIC research on trade in skins of wild cats provokes intense discussions at the meeting of CITES Parties. TRAFFIC compiles a comprehensive overview of “International trade in wildlife”. The TRAFFIC Bulletin, the only international journal devoted exclusively to the wildlife trade issues, is launched.
  • 1983–4: the TRAFFIC Bulletin publishes major studies on Indian bird, elephant ivory, European seal skin and reptile skin trades.
  • 1986–88 TRAFFIC undertakes an extensive review of the implementation of EU wildlife trade regulations that leads ultimately to the emergence of a new EU law which is considered one of the most comprehensive in the world.
  • 1992: TRAFFIC develops the Bad Ivory Database System (BIDS) to hold worldwide records of ivory seizures and confiscations. In 1994 it becomes the Elephant Trade Information System (ETIS), and is adopted by CITES.
  • 1993: TRAFFIC publishes a review of the European medicinal plant trade, and begins to assess the impact of this trade on wild plant populations and local health care systems. Following an investigation by TRAFFIC, the largest seizure of tiger bones ever recorded is made in India: 283 kg tiger bones, 8 tiger skins and 60 leopard skins.
  • 1994: TRAFFIC publishes “Killed for a cure: a review of the worldwide trade in tiger bone”.
  • 1995: In response to an undercover TRAFFIC investigation, London Metropolitan Police seize several hundred traditional Chinese medicines purporting to contain endangered species in London, as part of “Operation Charm”.
  • 1996: TRAFFIC assists in investigations leading to arrests and seizures of ivory and shahtoosh shawls, in India. TRAFFIC publishes a review of the caviar trade from the Caspian Sea. A year later all sturgeon species are listed in the CITES Appendices.
  • 1997: TRAFFIC reviews rhinoceros trade control legislation and presents the results to CITES. Following a TRAFFIC tip-off, law enforcement officials seize 140 shawls in Hong Kong. The dealer receives the highest financial penalty ever for a single charge of violating Hong Kong's Animal and Plants Ordinance.
  • 1998: Following TRAFFIC research on medicines in Canada and the USA claiming to contain tiger and rhinoceros ingredients, the US Congress passes the Rhino and Tiger Product Labeling Act. Studies by TRAFFIC reveal a twentyfold increase in the live reptile trade in the US.
  • 1999: Celebrities join TRAFFIC in calling for an end to shahtoosh trade, following the release of a report entitled “Fashion statement spells death for Tibetan antelope”.
  • 2000: TRAFFIC assists with intelligence leading to the seizure of four tiger, 70 leopard and 221 blackbuck skins, and 18,000 leopard nails in India.
  • 2001: TRAFFIC completes a study on musk deer farming in China. TRAFFIC raises concerns over the exploitation of Patagonian and Antarctic Toothfish, particularly by illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) vessels.
  • 2002: TRAFFIC releases a report on European sports hunting revealing that most of the income it generates does not benefit the countries where it takes place. A joint WWF-TRAFFIC report reveals links between organised criminal gangs and illegal wildlife traffickers.
  • 2003: A TRAFFIC report details alarming levels of illegal trade in snow leopards parts, particularly pelts.
  • 2004: The CITES Standing Committee develops an Action Plan to tackle uncontrolled domestic sales of ivory in Africa.
  • 2005: A TRAFFIC report[1] reveals that hundreds of orangutans are killed or captured every year in Indonesian Borneo. ASEAN countries announce a five-year Action Plan to combat threats to the region’s biological diversity. EU-TWIX, an online database managed by TRAFFIC to help law enforcers in the EU fight wildlife trade crime in Europe is launched.
  • 2006: The EU adopts new labelling rules to fight caviar smuggling.
  • 2007: TRAFFIC releases "Taming the tiger trade".[2] Parties at CITES adopt by consensus a document urging countries not to reopen trade in tiger parts. A ground-breaking TRAFFIC report on illegal logging has an immediate positive impact on the timber trade in Tanzania.[3] TRAFFIC releases a report on EU wildlife trade.[4] At the CITES meeting, the EU unveils an Action Plan to improve wildlife trade enforcement within the EU and in countries where the trade originates.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Nijman, Vincenta. "Hanging in the Balance: An Assessment of Trade in Orag-utans and Gibbons on Kalimantan, Indonesia" (PDF). Traffic Southeast Asia. Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 September 2007. 
  2. ^ Nowell, Kristin; Ling, Xu. "Taming the Tiger Trade: China's Markets for Wild and Captive Tiger Products Since the 1993 Domestic Trade Ban" (PDF). Traffic East Asia. Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 September 2007. 
  3. ^ Milledge, Simon A. H.; Gelvas, Ised K.; Ahrends, Antje. "Forestry, Government and National Development: Lessons Learned from a Logging Boom in Southern Tanzania" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 September 2007. 
  4. ^ Engler, Maylynn; Parry-Jones, Rob. "Opportunity or Thread: The Role of the European Union in Global Wildlife Trade" (PDF). Traffic Europe. Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 September 2007. 

Regional websites[edit]