Animal Smuggling in Air Transport and Preventing Zoonotic Disease

The report Animal Smuggling in Air Transport and Preventing Zoonotic Spillover, produced by C4ADS as part of the USAID Reducing Opportunities for Unlawful Transport of Endangered Species (ROUTES) Partnership, details the financial impact of zoonotic diseases on the aviation industry, methods for identifying high-zoonotic-risk trafficking, and recommendations to help prevent the spread of future outbreaks.

The C4ADS Air Seizure Database shows that known instances of animal smuggling with a high risk of zoonotic disease occur in over a hundred countries across every continent, except Antarctica. These instances—while likely a fraction of the total illicit trade—include illicit carriage of domesticated and wild animals (the latter of which constitutes a more significant risk for emerging infectious diseases). Evidence from anecdotal testing has identified disease-causing pathogens in multiple wildlife seizures.

The aviation industry can support enforcement authorities, as well as public- and animal-health stakeholders, in preventing the outbreak of future pandemics with data-driven policies and protocols. Regulation, policies, and practices in the aviation sector aimed at legal flows of humans and goods should be supplemented with counter-animal smuggling initiatives, an extension of the good work already being undertaken by the aviation industry to reduce illicit wildlife trafficking. To help reduce risk, industry stakeholders can engage in cross-sector collaboration with traditional counter wildlife trafficking stakeholders as well as public- and animal-health researchers to implement comprehensive measures, informed by data on zoonoses and illicit animal trafficking.

application/pdf Animal Smuggling and Zoonoses.pdf — 4661 KB