Combatting Wildlife Trafficking

The 26th ACI World General Assembly in 2016 affirmed the commitment of airports to help combat wildlife trafficking, through the signing of the United for Wildlife Transport Taskforce Buckingham Palace Declaration and supporting the Reducing Opportunities for Unlawful Transport of Endangered Species (ROUTES) Partnership, funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). 

The 30th ACI World General Assembly in 2020 encouraged airports to support the protection of biodiversity, and thereby also helping to avert future pandemics.


Welcome to the Combatting Wildlife Trafficking course.

The illegal wildlife trade is one of the largest international illicit trades, thought to generate between USD 7-23 billion annually. Wildlife traffickers exploit the global aviation network to perform their activities, causing similar effects as other international crimes, including promoting instability, financing organized crime, and adversely affecting local livelihoods, particularly among communities reliant on wildlife tourism. Wildlife trafficking includes the poaching, purchase, sale, transit, and consumption of protected wildlife, their parts, and products. It endangers species, damages the environment and has been identified as a factor that can contribute to the development of zoonotic diseases.

This course will provide you with an understanding of the key issues and challenges that airports face in relation to wildlife trafficking and explores the tools that you can use to combat wildlife trafficking at your airport.

The course explores the role of airports in combatting wildlife trafficking by drawing on the experience of airports that have already taken action, and contains materials and advice to assist airports, irrespective of their size or geography, to help play their part in the fight against wildlife trafficking.

We will also recommend a comprehensive approach that involves coordination with airlines and law enforcement agencies such as border-protection and customs agents.

 Learning Outcomes

On completion of this course participants will be able to:

  • Explain why wildlife is traded
  • Recognise that there are laws and regulations which govern the trade in wildlife
  • Explain the magnitude and impacts of the illegal wildlife trade
  • Evaluate how and why aviation transport is used by wildlife traffickers
  • Examine the role of airports in helping to stop wildlife trafficking
  • Explain how airport and other stakeholder staff might be able to identify wildlife trafficking
  • Understand the importance of reporting procedures
  • Recognise that tip-offs given by airport staff can successfully lead to wildlife seizures
  • Identify examples of actions taken by other airports

Who Should Enrol?

  • All airport personnel including airside, terminal and landside staff, whether they are supervisory or management level or ground level
  • Personnel from all airport stakeholders and service providers that operate at the airport, including airlines, ground handlers and concessionaires, whether they are supervisory or management level or ground level

Course Content

The Combatting Wildlife Trafficking course covers the following topics:

Introduction to the Wildlife Trade and Trafficking

This section defines and introduces the concept of legal and illegal wildlife trade.

Wildlife Trafficking in the Aviation Sector

This section explains how and why aviation transport is used by wildlife traffickers.

How to Recognise Signs of Wildlife Trafficking

This section provides guidance on how to recognise the signs of wildlife trafficking and describe some basic procedures and protocols when there are suspected wildlife trafficking situations.

How Airports can take Action

This section explains the role of airports in helping to stop wildlife trafficking.

Case Studies

This section explores airport case studies and takes a closer look at the strategies they are using to combat wildlife trafficking.


This course includes an integrated online assessment. Candidates must successfully complete the assessment to receive a Certificate of Completion.

This course is made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The contents are the responsibility of Airports Council International (ACI) World and TRAFFIC and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID, the United States Government, or individual ROUTES partners.

The designations of geographical entities in this course, and the presentation of the material, do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of ACI, ROUTES, or ROUTES partners concerning the legal status of any country, territory, or area, or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.

Course info

  • Duration: 1 Hour
  • Language: English
  • Level: Short Course
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$25.00 CAD