Wildlife trade

A scaly pangolin with small, brown eyes and a pointy nose forages for food near some greenery.

Pangolin smuggling: The next coronavirus time bomb?


For years, the plight of the pangolin has been a niche concern, mostly worrying conservationists. But the COVID-19 pandemic has pulled pangolins into the spotlight.

Green trees in the corner with wide swath of cleared forest in the center

Slowing deforestation could save humanity from the next pandemic

Wuhan outdoor market

COVID-19 brings new scrutiny to illegal wildlife trafficking

Health & Medicine
Dead snakes are preserved in jars at a snake farm in Zisiqiao village, Zhejiang province, China, on Feb. 22, 2013.

China cracks down on wildlife trade amid coronavirus outbreak

Twin arches

Kenya’s Mombasa port is the highway through which Africa’s poached animal products pass

Poacher turned ranger Mutinda Ndivo

Anti-poaching efforts in Kenya focus on saving animals — and people too


In recent years, Kenya has been on the front line of the war against terror. In 2013, Al-Shabaab killed 67 people in an attack on Nairobi’s upscale Westgate mall. More recently, militants stormed a northern Kenyan university, killing 148 people in the country’s worst terrorist attack in more than a decade. Terrorism experts now know the group receives at least some of its funding from the illegal wildlife trade, so stopping poachers in Kenya’s national parks is not just about saving elephants, it’s about saving people, too.

Ivory on Display at Ivory Crush in Times Square

Despite big efforts, the US is still a major consumer of illegal elephant ivory


Anti-poaching advocates have tried all manner of ways to get people to stop purchasing illegal animal products, from celebrity ads to staged, public destruction of ivory caches. In June 2015, the US government made a very public display of crushing a ton in front of thousands of onlookers in Times Square. Yet poachers are still finding a market for illegal ivory on American streets, thanks to the US’s confusing and hard-to-enforce poaching laws.

A pig-nosed turtle, which is becoming a favorite as an exotic pet.

Pig-nosed turtles are adorable — and that’s made them the target of traffickers


Pig-nosed turtles are so cute that thousands of them are being smuggled by animal traffickers to be sold as exotic pets. But while they’re adorable as babies, they grow up to become big, feisty animals that many people abandon  — a problem for a species that’s considered threatened.

The Living on Earth Almanac

This week, facts about… CITES , the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, the largest wildlife treaty in the world, enjoying its twenty-fifth anniversary this month.

The Trouble With Boa: A Look at Exotic Pets

Steve Curwood speaks with zoologist Donna Fernandes about the lucrative legal and illegal international pet trade. The illegal aspects of the trade is second only to drug smuggling into the United States.