Runway To Extinction Report - Americas

The Americas chapter for the 2020 ROUTES Partnership and C4ADS report "Runway to Extinction: Wildlife Trafficking in the Air Transport Sector" which examines the trends, transit routes, and trafficking methods used by wildlife smugglers exploiting the aviation industry in six world regions: Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and Oceania.

Main Takeaways: 

  • Wildlife trafficking in the Americas primarily involved live animal trafficking, although there was a market in North America for certain wildlife products. For example, wildlife products derived from marine species were commonly exported from countries such as Mexico.
  • There was significant demand in Mexico for trafficked domestic species. This, coupled with the prevalence of the illegal totoaba trade, meant that Mexico was both the primary origin and transit country for wildlife trafficking in the Americas.
  • Traffickers moving finches from Guyana to New York in the United States tended to hide the birds in plastic hair curlers in their carry-on bags, sleeves, or socks. Since finch trafficking routes and methods tend to be consistent, customs and enforcement have an opportunity to use this information to search high-risk flights for finch trafficking attempts.
  • Domestic flights and domestic wildlife markets played a large role in wildlife trafficking in the Americas, especially within Mexico, Brazil, and Peru.
  • Unlike other world regions, the Americas stretch across the North-South Hemisphere boundary, and as such portrayed characteristics of both common origin and destination regions.
  • Wildlife trafficking activity by air appeared to be thinly spread across much of the Americas, with many countries occasionally publicly involved but only a couple with a significant seizure or trafficking instance count.

application/pdf ROUTES_RunwayToExtinction_Americas.pdf — 3832 KB