© Charlie Shoemaker
Rangers feed orphaned elephants at the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Kenya. (© Charlie Shoemaker)

Editor’s note: Wildlife trafficking is wiping out Earth’s most iconic species, funding organized crime and threatening our economic and global security. Despite the aggressive efforts of governments and international bodies such as Interpol to address wildlife crime at all levels, it remains one of the most lucrative criminal activities in the world. According to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, the illegal wildlife trade is worth roughly US$ 20 billion a year, placing it just under guns, drugs and human trafficking.

What makes this a “high-profit low-risk crime” — and why is it so hard to fight? Here, Human Nature breaks down common misconceptions about wildlife crime, examines the challenges the international community faces in fighting it, and identifies potential solutions — including how you can help.

tiger in India