This page is no longer updated. Partners have agreed that CAWT has achieved its aims and should now be disbanded to allow members to invest in other initiatives to combat wildlife trafficking.

CAWT aims:

1.    Improvement of wildlife law enforcement by expanding enforcement training and information sharing and strengthening regional cooperative networks;
2.    Reduction of consumer demand for illegally traded wildlife by raising awareness of the impacts of illegal wildlife trade on biodiversity and the environment, livelihoods, and human health; its links to organized crime; and the availability of sustainable alternatives and;
3.    The stimulation of high-level political will to fight wildlife trafficking by broadening support at the highest levels for actions to combat the illegal trade in wildlife.

CAWT Membership:

CAWT’s government members were: Australia (chair); Canada; Chile; India; UK; and USA. Non-government members were: the American Paper and Forest Association; the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF); Conservation International; the FREELAND Foundation; Humane Society International (HSI); the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW); the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN); Save the Tiger Fund; the Smithsonian Institute; TRAFFIC; WildAid; Wildlife Alliance; Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS); and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).
CAWT Approach:
CAWT members pursued a 'shared approach' by:

•    Working individually and jointly toward achieving the Coalition's goals, with each Partner acting where it can contribute most effectively
•    Supporting the effective implementation and enforcement of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and avoid duplication of efforts
•    Educating consumers about alternative, sustainable choices
•    Improving wildlife legislation and raising awareness of wildlife laws and the penalties for violating them
•    Exchanging information and expertise on best practices and lessons learned
•    Informing Partners of projects and activities undertaken in support of the Coalition's shared mission and goals
•    Facilitating contacts and dialogue among partners and other public and private entities active in combating wildlife trafficking
•    Communicating and promoting the Coalition's activities to others, in consultation with Partners
•    Recognizing outstanding achievement in fighting wildlife trafficking.

History of CAWT:

CAWT was established by the Government of the United States of America as a coalition of like-minded parties to combat the negative effects of wildlife trafficking on biodiversity and animal welfare.  The founders of CAWT intended for the Coalition to complement CITES activities.

Members of CAWT included the USA, the United Kingdom, India and a number of non-government organisations.

Australia joined CAWT in 2006, undertaking a number of activities in the Oceania region to support the goals of CAWT, including provision of CITES training for Customs officers.

The USA worked with ASEAN countries to establish the ASEAN-Wildlife Enforcement Network.

The Wildlife Protection Society India and U.S. Embassy New Delhi hosted a three day conference in Ranthambore National Park on forensics and intelligence collection training for park rangers and police.  Sixty-five park rangers and police were trained.  
The ASEAN-WEN support program effectively used several methods, including television and print campaigns, to so far generate over 200 media stories including the Discovery Channel series on global wildlife crime and the CNN series “Planet In Peril” and the “Sold Out” campaign in Bangkok, which features ads and bill-boards describing the fate of wild animals that come into the wildlife trade. Through these efforts, millions of viewers and readers have been exposed to the plight of Southeast Asia’s remaining wildlife and their habitats.

The Australian Government funded the establishment of a CITES timber officer to enhance CITES Secretariat’s ability to protect timber threatened due to trade. Australia also worked in cooperation with the national traditional medicine industry body to target awareness raising activities.

Australia provided funding for the ‘Thin Green Line’ documentary which documents the dangers faced by park rangers in countries where poaching and illegal wildlife trade are rife. Australia also targeted compliance operations at the illegal trade of live exotic birds resulting in the seizure of over 300 birds.

A CAWT Alliance workshop on Illegal and unsustainable wildlife trade took place in the margins of the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Barcelona.

IFAW produced several reports on illegal wildlife trade occurring over the internet, particularly focusing on the illegal trading of ivory on eBay and other internet trading websites. As a result of the investigation undertaken by IFAW, eBay took positive steps towards addressing illegal wildlife trade, including instituting a ban on the international sale and shipment of ivory products. Several eBay national sites also introduced country-wide bans on the domestic sale and internal shipment of ivory products.

HSI ran a workshop to support and strengthen the role of CITES Scientific Authorities in Central America and the Dominican Republic. The workshop was supported by the USA.
Three public service announcements starring Harrison Ford were launched as part of World Environment Day to bring attention to efforts to combat wildlife trafficking. The event was co-organised by the US Mission and the Coalition Against Wildlife Trafficking.

The Australian Government launched an innovative certification scheme developed in collaboration with the Australian Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Association (AACMA) to provide recognition to professionals for their compliance with international and Australian wildlife regulations in their use of ingredients in traditional Chinese medicines.

In collaboration with the US Embassy in Kuwait, CCF coordinated the confiscation and transfer of two cheetah cubs to the Kuwait Zoo.

TRAFFIC North America worked with Mexico’s Federal Environmental Protection Agency (PROFEPA), providing a two day workshop on training in the identification of reptile products. TRAFFIC also released a report on the concerning status of pangolin trade.

The United Kingdom, the USA and TRAFFIC cooperated to support the prosecution of a man involved in the illegal wildlife trade in elephant and whale products sold through eBay.

Australia targeted educational material at travel agents with the aim of ensuring that travellers had access to contemporary information on wildlife trade requirements. Australia also provided CITES training to border officials in the Oceania region through the Pacific Customs Management Programme.

The world-wide Interpol Operation Tram, inspired by the UK, resulted in the seizure of large quantities of traditional medicines containing ingredients derived from endangered animal and plant species. The UK also implemented measures to restrict the re-export of rhinoceros horn.

Authorities in Cambodia, with assistance from CAWT member, Wildlife Alliance, arrested a man on suspicion of attempting to sell a leopard skin and other parts of threatened wildlife species.

The issue of illegal cheetah trafficking is introduced to the CAWT agenda by CCF. As reported to CAWT, CCF has received numerous reports of cheetah cubs being removed from their range in northeast Africa to be smuggled into the Arabian Peninsula for the illegal pet trade.

CAWT hosted the Rhino Horn Trafficking Workshop in Johannesburg, South Africa. Participants included: UK DEFRA, IUCN SSC African rhino specialist group, TRAFFIC, Head of Species Conservation and Management for Kenya Wildlife Service, Vietnam-WEN, INTERPOL, HSI, IFAW, representatives of South African and Vietnamese Government wildlife management, parks, enforcement and prosecution bodies.

CAWT partner, Wildlife Alliance, publicised concerns about over-harvesting of Thailand Rosewood in Cambodia.
New Zealand and Australia collaborated to create and distribute a series of education and awareness brochures on endangered wildlife products. The brochures have been published in English and seven Pacific languages. The collaborative approach was taken to promote a consistent Oceania-region wide approach towards the implementation of CITES and regulation of wildlife trade.

CCF and its collaborators in Somaliland organised the confiscation of six cheetah cubs by the Ministry of Environment, as well as the transfer of the four surviving cubs to a facility in Ethiopia.

The UK Government awarded £1.3 million to species conservation projects around the world, including funding for the IUCN Specialist Groups for African elephants and African rhinoceros.

US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, hosted the event, Wildlife Trafficking and Conservation, A Call to Action. Three new programs contributing to the global effort to combat wildlife trafficking were announced:

•    A partnership between USAID, IUCN and TRAFFIC titled Wildlife Trafficking Response, Assessment, and Priority Setting (Wildlife TRAPS) focused on addressing trans-regional wildlife trafficking.
•    The Global Partnership for Oceans,  a World-Bank-led trilateral partnership involving over 100 public, private, and civil society partners.
•    The Technology Challenge on Wildlife Trafficking developed by USAID, engaging the best and brightest scientists and entrepreneurs to identify technological solutions to wildlife trafficking.

In addition, the US Department of State contributed USD$100 000 towards regional wildlife enforcement networks, building on the more than $24 million already committed by USAID to efforts to combat wildlife trafficking since 2007.

In its capacity as a CAWT member, CCF was invited to submit data on illegal cheetah operations as part of a proposal by CITES’ Parties, Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia, for the inclusion of Illegal Cheetah Trafficking in the agenda of the CITES CoP16. The document –a first statement in a major international forum about the serious problem of illegal trade in wild cheetahs, resulted in a CITES resolution to commission an independent study of “both the legal and illegal trade in wild cheetahs, and to assess the impact of this trade on the species’ conservation in the wild.”

CCF’s Executive Director met with United States’ Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment Robert D. Hormats to discuss a number of issues, including illegal wildlife trade. CCF presented the Under Secretary with a briefing and request to ensure that the illegal pet trade is consistently included in all policies, actions and legislation relevant to the illegal wildlife trafficking as a whole.

CCF and its collaborators in Somaliland organised the confiscation of three cheetah cubs by the Ministry of Environment, as well as the transfer of the only surviving cub to a facility in Ethiopia.

Two California businessmen were sentenced in Los Angeles in May 2015 for trafficking rhino horn. Both men were sent to prison and $800,000 of their illegally acquired "profits" were directed towards the protection of rhinos in Africa.

Australia promoted information to consumers about requirements for importing items purchased over the internet containing endangered plant and animal species, in particular sports and other health supplements containing Hoodia gordonii listed on Appendix II to CITES.

CCF visited the United Arab Emirates in an effort to raise awareness of the threats that the illegal cheetah trade poses to the conservation of wild populations in northeast Africa. CCF began to collect genetic samples from cheetahs in the UAE and Horn of Africa, whenever possible, to start a database that might allow for the identification of the geographic origin of smuggled animals. CCF regularly attends illegal wildlife trafficking meetings in Washington, DC.

CAWT hosted a event showcasing the work of CAWT members and other anti-wildlife trafficking and anti-poaching organisations at the IUCN World Parks Congress in Sydney, Australia.

The United Kingdom hosted the London Conference on the Illegal Wildlife Trafficking, which resulted in commitments to combat illegal trade in wildlife by 42 countries and a number of other partner organisations.

Following a resolution at the CITES CoP16 in 2013, CCF actively collaborated with a CITES-commissioned consultant on a study that analysed illegal cheetah trafficking. The study was presented at the CITES 27th Animal Committee Meeting and resulted in recommendations to the Standing Committee, who endorsed them at the SC67 Meeting. An inter-sessional working group --which included CAWT’s members CCF, IUCN, WCS, IFAW and WWF, was tasked with obtaining additional information from implicated Parties and the organization of a workshop of range and relevant states.

CCF organised the confiscation of 12 cheetah cubs in collaboration with Somali authorities, and the transfer of eight survivors to facilities in Ethiopia and Djibouti. CCF also returned to the United Arab Emirates to train cheetah-holding facilities and veterinarians in the collection of reproductive and genetic samples.

Botswana hosted Kasane Conference on the Illegal Wildlife Trafficking, where signatories to the London Statement on Illegal Wildlife Trafficking affirmed commitments to combat illegal trade in wildlife.

The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) adopted the Resolution on Tackling the Illicit Trafficking in Wildlife developed by the Group of Friends on Poaching and Illicit Wildlife Trafficking. The UNGA also adopted the revised Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in September 2015, including specific targets to end poaching and illicit trafficking in wildlife.

A CITES inter-sessional working group on illegal cheetah trafficking, which included CAWT members CCF, IUCN, WCS, IFAW and WWF, organised a CITES international workshop on illegal cheetah trafficking, hosted by the State of Kuwait and with the participation of 13 CITES parties and 10 NGOs. IFAW and CCF presented an overview of the issue and recommendations on behalf of the participating NGOs. The group drafted recommendations directed to the Secretariat and the Standing Committee to address issues such as public awareness/education, enforcement, international collaboration, and disposal of confiscated cheetahs, to be presented at the CITES SC66 in January 2016.

As of 17 December 2015, CCF’s data collected since 2005 comprises 239 cases of illegal cheetah trafficking involving 962 cheetahs or cheetah products. Only 126 cheetahs were known to have survived. It is estimated that cases recorded by CCF are only a fraction of the actual cases.