Illegal Wildlife Trade

The Basel Institute is leading a multi-disciplinary programme of work focused on intelligence-led action against financial crime in the illegal wildlife trade (IWT).

Corruption and financial crime are key facilitators of the multibillion-dollar illegal trade in ivory, rhino horn and other wildlife products, from bribing officials to laundering profits. 

Efforts to tackle financial crime and strengthen law enforcement in relation to IWT can greatly help to reduce the trade. That requires more effective, more systematic use of intelligence and coordination across public, private and non-governmental sector actors.

Working with key financial institutions, law enforcement partners and others, we seek to strengthen the investigation and prosecution of transnational IWT-related financial crimes, produce actionable intelligence on criminal networks and cooperate regionally and internationally in these efforts.

To support these efforts, we are conducting field research and analysis into the drivers and facilitators of wildlife trafficking, and how trafficking networks operate and interact with other criminal networks and the formal and informal economies.

We are proud signatories of the Buckingham Palace Declaration and Mansion House Declaration of the United for Wildlife Transport Taskforce and Financial Taskforce respectively. We actively support their efforts to assist and advance private-sector action against wildlife trafficking through a number of activities, and especially through the role of implementing partner of the UfW Taskforce Information Sharing System, which provides intelligence on wildlife trafficking to members of both Taskforces.

Juhani Grossmann

Team Leader IWT
+41 61 205 55 30

Our donors

The Royal Foundation is the primary philanthropic and charitable vehicle for The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. The Basel Institute supports the intelligence function of the United for Wildlife Transport and Financial Taskforces, an initiative of The Royal Foundation.


The Elephant Crisis Fund (ECF), established in May 2013, is a joint initiative of Save the Elephants and the Wildlife Conservation Network, initiated to address the ivory crisis by providing emergency funding to partners working in the areas of anti-poaching, anti-trafficking and demand deduction. The ECF has the speed and efficiency to react quickly to threats to vulnerable populations of African elephants, aiming for rapid impact and also for collaboration between organisations.


PMI IMPACT is a global initiative to support public, private, and nongovernmental organisations to develop and implement projects against illegal trade and related crimes. The initiative was launched in 2016 by Philip Morris International (PMI), which has pledged USD 100 million to fund the first three rounds of grants.

Recent IWT publications