06:12 PM

For Immediate Release

New Analysis Released on Illegal Wildlife Shipments from Latin America Seized in the U.S.

Defenders of Wildlife has released an updated analysis of illegal wildlife shipments from Latin America seized in the United States from 2007-2017. Ten years of data on seizures of wildlife and wildlife parts and products were analyzed from the Law Enforcement Management Information System Trade database managed by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. This data builds on an in-depth report that Defenders of Wildlife released in 2015, entitled “Combating Wildlife Trafficking from Latin America to the United States: The illegal trade from Mexico, The Caribbean, Central America and South America and what we can do to address it.

Alejandra Goyenechea, Senior International Counsel, of Defenders of Wildlife issued this statement:

“The illegal wildlife trade from Latin America to the United States is a threat to the world’s most biologically diverse region. As one of the world’s largest consumers of wildlife and goods, demand from the United States fuels this illegal trade. Through our reports and research, Defenders of Wildlife is shining a light on the wildlife trafficking crisis and asking the United States and Latin American nations to step up their fight against the pernicious trade in imperiled wildlife.”


Highlights from the analysis:

  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service seized a total of 10,082 wildlife shipments over the course of 10 years. 2011 was the year with the most seizures (1,380).
  • The seized shipments include 10,966 live animals and over 70,000 pounds of wildlife products. Most of this trade (87 percent) was sourced from wild populations and declared imported for personal use.
  • The top U.S. ports for wildlife seizures were El Paso, Texas and Miami, Florida, accounting for 56 percent of all shipments sized.
  • Mexico was the top exporter with a total of 5,776 seized shipments – 57 percent of all exports – originating there.

Defenders of Wildlife is dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities. With over 1.8 million members and activists, Defenders of Wildlife is a leading advocate for innovative solutions to safeguard our wildlife heritage for generations to come. For more information, visit Newsroom.Defenders.org and follow us on Twitter @DefendersNews.