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1 April 2021



WEBINAR: Thank you to all our members and partners who attended Wednesday's UfW Taskforce intelligence sharing webinar, "The End of Poaching: The Means to an End." We had a record 447 registered participants from 61 countries across 6 continents, and excellent expert presentations from TRAFFICGreenhood NepalNRCNPAMS Foundation, and Focused Conservation. A recording of the webinar is available to Taskforce members on request. 



1) Taking Action: Inspiring law enforcement successes in Uganda. Launch of the Hong Kong regional chapter. Several important new publications from/about Taskforce members and partners. 

2) New Taskforce Alerts on:
- How illicit timber trafficking allegedly funds the military junta in Myanmar (Burma);
- Tactics of Chinese and Vietnamese wildlife trafficking networks in Mozambique; and
- The emerging ‘Assam Route' in India’s northeast for illegal wildlife and its convergence with threat finance and drugs and weapons trafficking.   

3) Convergence Report: Chinese Triads in Latin America, illegal timber trade in Europe, financial crime in Southeast Asia, and corruption in wildlife authorities in southern Africa.

4) Red flags and what to look for, from recent open sources and Taskforce analysis. 



News, success stories, and best practice from Taskforce members and partners

Transparent Handcuffs Png - Handcuff Png Clipart (#5612381) - PinClipart Enforcement Successes in UgandaUganda's Special Wildlife Crime Unit (SWCU), a close operational partner of the UfW Taskforces and Focused Conservation, continued to post a number of significant enforcement successes against organized wildlife trafficking networks, including in the past month:
- The arrest of four police officers for involvement in ivory trafficking.
- The successful prosecution of a major ivory trafficker, resulting in the longest ever custodial sentence handed down by Uganda's wildlife crime court.
- Key contributions to the multi agency investigation into the poisoning and dismemberment of 6 lions in Queen Elizabeth National Park that led to the arrest of four perpetrators.

 Launch of UfW Taskforce Hong Kong ChapterBuilding on UfW's previous learning academy event in 2019, UfW launched its Hong Kong Regional Chapter on 31 March 2021. The Chapter joins those in East and Southern Africa and looks to create a local network for transport, financial, NGO and law enforcement to collaborate on ways to tackle IWT. With speakers from ADM Capital Foundation, the University of Hong Kong, the Swire Group, and Citigroup, the session highlighted recent legislative updates from the region and examples of best practices from industry.

 Major New Report on IWT Financial Flows & Payment Mechanisms: On 18 March, Taskforce partners UNODC and TRAFFIC released The Case Digest - An Initial Analysis of the Financial Flows and Payment Mechanisms Behind Wildlife and Forest CrimeThe publication is a thorough examination of the financial data from more than 40 wildlife crime cases from across the globe, including 11 detailed case studies. The case digest is a product of years of collaboration between participating government agencies, financial intelligence units, non-governmental organizations and other sector experts, including numerous Taskforce member companies and partners. 

Taskforce Member Airlines Featured for their Successes against IWT:  Two major airline industry trade publications and a recent conference hosted by Transport Taskforce member Air Canada showcased the great accomplishments of the airline industry in combatting global wildlife trafficking since the signing of the Buckingham Palace Declaration five years ago, and also highlighted several specific examples of how Taskforce members are actively confronting current challenges. Watch the recording of Air Canada's Illegal Wildlife Trade Virtual Forum 2021, and read the full articles here: "How airlines stepped up to tackle wildlife trafficking" @Flight Global, and "Inside the fight to stop illegal wildlife trade post-COVID" @Runway Girl Network

We'd like to hear your story! Submit your company's success stories to your Taskforce points of contact, listed at the end of the Bulletin



Latest wildlife trafficking threat and convergence trends


 Myanmar (Burma): New military junta funded by illegal timber trade: On 1 February 2021, the military of Myanmar (Burma) arrested the country’s leadership and imposed direct military rule over the country, and by extension its lucrative state-controlled timber trade. According to extensive media and NGO reporting, a significant proportion of the timber trade in Myanmar is illegally sourced and directly profits the ruling military junta. FULL ALERT

 Mozambique–SE Asia Route: overview of wildlife trafficker tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs): Wildlife trafficking between Mozambique and Southeast Asia is dominated by organized Chinese and Vietnamese criminal syndicates. These syndicates allegedly source illegal wildlife from regional poaching networks in Mozambique and South Africa, then consolidate it in warehouses in Mozambique, and ultimately arrange for sales to wholesale buyers in Southeast and East Asia. FULL ALERT

 The ‘Assam Route:’ India’s Northeast Region emerging as hub for illegal live animal imports: The India’s northeast region has emerged as an international wildlife trafficking hub, with potential convergence with armed group financing, narcotics trafficking, and smuggling with China, Myanmar (Burma), and Bangladesh. Wildlife trafficking activity in northeast India is concentrated around the import of illegal wildlife for use in the exotic pet trade in India’s urban centers. Available information indicates traffickers have developed sophisticated international supply chain operations, aided by corruption within government agencies and regional captive breeding facilities. FULL ALERT




Actionable red flags & indicators of suspicious activity, compiled from recent open sources and Taskforce Alerts

Country Risk

  • SourceAustralia, Mozambique, Myanmar, South Africa
  • Transit: India, Malaysia, Myanmar, Vietnam, Laos
  • Demand: Belgium, Cambodia, China, Croatia, Germany, India, Italy, Laos, Netherlands, Slovenia, Thailand, Vietnam

Specific High-Risk Geographies

  • Europe: Maritime ports in Greece, Croatia, and Italy
  • Myanmar: overland routes from Kachin State to Yunnan Province, China and/or Rhakine State to Thailand
  • India: Champhai, Mizoram; Behiang, Moreh, and Kamjon, Manipur; Nagaland; Guwhati, Cachar, Assam; Delhi; Kolkata
  • Mozambique: Maputo

Client Risk (corporates)

  • Europe: Timber importers and buyers accused of past EU Trade Regulation (EUTR) violations associated with Myanmar timber imports
  • India: Pet retailers or wholesalers operating in Dheli or Kolkata trading in high-value, non-native or exotic species
  • Mozambique: companies registered in Mozambique exporting timber, stone, or quartz to Southeast Asia
  • Timber trade or financial transactions directly or indirectly linked to Myanmar military officials, including both sanctioned and unsanctioned individuals and companies.
  • Uganda: unregistered or non-existent businesses listed as counterparties on maritime or air cargo shipment documentation
  • Uganda: Uganda-registered companies registered to nationals of China or Vietnam
  • Uganda: Uganda-registered companies conducting international trade business in DR Congo or South Sudan

Client Risk (persons)

  • Myanmar: Individuals sanctioned by the United States, United Kingdom, and/or European Union for involvement in the February 2021 coup or facilitation thereof
  • Mozambican national registered owners of export businesses which lack a clear business logic, especially businesses involved in the international trade of timber, stone, or quartz

Transaction Risk

  • Payments to timber exporters/importers associated with sanctioned officials or the state-owned Myanmar Timber Enterprise (MTE)
  • Repetitive transactions with patterns in amount or frequency, especially if combined with the following factors: outgoing to the same or a small defined group of recipients; recipients are based in Vietnam; recipients appear to be members of the same family or share an address.
  • Large or suspicious deposits or other transactions related to employees of customs services or police agencies working in or around Maputo, Mozambique or Pasir Gudang, Johor, Malaysia.
  • South Africa: foreign exchange (FOREX) bureaus and/or money services businesses with significant business relationships in Vietnam or China
  • Uganda: shipments of containers declared to be transiting Uganda with origins in South Sudan or DR Congo, accompanied by a lack of evidence that the containers were ever physically in the declared countries of origin
  • Uganda: Illogical or anomalous cargo weights (declared or actual)
  • Uganda: last minute changes to declared destination of maritime or air cargo shipments

Commodity Risk

  • Timber originating from Myanmar, especially teak
  • Timber, quartz, stone products

Investor Risk

  • Investments with supply chains reliant on timber imports from Myanmar and/or teak wood
  • Investments in businesses that export timber, stone, or quartz from Mozambique to Southeast Asia

This Bulletin was produced by Focused Conservation on behalf of United for Wildlife and the Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. All rights reserved.


United for Wildlife Taskforce Intelligence Bulletins are joint monthly advisories for both Buckingham Palace and Mansion House Declaration Signatories on issues of high concern related to wildlife trafficking and the finance and transport sector, and are a core output of the Taskforce Information Sharing System. 

United for Wildlife Taskforce Bulletins are for limited distribution within the transport, finance, and law enforcement sectors only and should not be released publicly. We encourage you however to share these Bulletins with colleagues from within the finance and transport industries or law enforcement who may find them useful.

This Bulletin is provided for information purposes only. The Taskforce has high confidence in the analysis and findings presented in this bulletin unless otherwise noted, and while every attempt has been made to ensure accuracy of this information, no warranty is made on the accuracy or reliability of this information. Any and all company or individual decisions and the consequences of those decisions made based on or informed by this information are the sole responsibility of the persons and organizations making such decisions.

For questions or additional data/analysis relevant to this alert, please reply to this message or contact your relevant United for Wildlife Taskforce points of contact:
- Mr. Rob Campbell (), Program Manager
- Dr. Tim Wittig (), Head of Intelligence & Analysis
- Dr. Tricia Raxter (), Senior Analyst