ROUTES From Take Off to Touch Down: Video and Report

Jan 18, 2022

Before 2015, there was very little awareness of wildlife trafficking via air transport among the aviation industry, but the formation of the USAID Reducing Opportunities for Unlawful Transport of Endangered Species (ROUTES) Partnership catalyzed a global response. At the end of six years of the Partnership we reflect upon its impact and explain how the industry is effectively equipped to help combat this crime.


The ROUTES Partnership has released a final overview report (The ROUTES Partnership: From Take Off to Touch Down) and summary video (see below) highlighting its main achievements across six years of implementation. The report focuses on four primary areas of impact:

  1. Knowledge

ROUTES created the ROUTES Dashboard where users can filter wildlife trafficking in aviation data and investigate region or route-specific risk globally. This, alongside ROUTES’ six in-depth reports which detail trends of wildlife trafficking in aviation, provided the knowledge base necessary to prioritize and build an industry response.

  1. Training

ROUTES built an extensive suite of training materials in multiple languages, which companies can adopt into their training programs, and conducted trainings in 20 countries across the world, sustained through e-learning programmes.

  1. Tools

In September 2021, in collaboration with Crime Stoppers International (CSI), ROUTES launched Wildlife Sentinel – an illegal wildlife trade anonymous reporting app for aviation staff. Reports are shared with law enforcement and can be used to address corruption. ROUTES also supported and coordinated the development of an algorithm to detect priority wildlife products in baggage screening x-ray systems.

  1. Inspiration

ROUTES inspired industry champions: many companies committed to taking action by signing the United for Wildlife Buckingham Palace Declaration (BPD), taking formal assessments of their wildlife trafficking prevention standards, and championing the cause by encouraging other businesses to step up. ROUTES also inspired the establishment of several cross-sectoral alliances and regional taskforces dedicated to combatting wildlife trafficking.

Key to ROUTES’ success was the bringing together of an array of different voices and expertise. The Core Team of ROUTES was made up of aviation organizations (Airports Council International (ACI) and International Air Transport Association (IATA)), NGOs (The Center for Advanced Defense Studies (C4ADS), TRAFFIC, WWF) and government bodies (U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Department of State, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service). As the lead for the Partnership, TRAFFIC is grateful to all those involved along the way, from the core partners to every airline, airport, and association that has spread awareness and taken action against wildlife trafficking.

“We must not squander ROUTES’ legacy - let’s build and scale from here. We have the knowledge and right approaches to make transport sector leadership the norm in preventing wildlife trafficking globally,” Crawford Allan, ROUTES Oversight, TRAFFIC.

 Read the report