The value of Illegal Wildlife Trade (IWT) is estimated at
$10 billion–$23 billion per year, making wildlife crime the fourth most lucrative illegal business after narcotics, human trafficking, and arms. The Philippines is a consumer, source, and transit point for IWT, threatening endemic species populations, economic development, and biodiversity. The country has been a party to the Convention
on Biological Diversity since 1992.
The value of IWT in the Philippines is estimated at ₱50 billion a year (roughly equivalent to $1billion), which includes the market value of wildlife and its resources, their ecological role and value, damage to habitats incurred during poaching, and loss in potential ecotourism revenues.
The Philippines is a CITES member state that regulates international trade in close to 35,000 species of plants and animals, including their products and derivatives, ensuring their survival in the wild with benefits for the livelihoods of local people and the global environment. The DENR through the Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB) is the CITES Management Authority in the Philippines implementing a CITES permit system that ensure that international trade in listed species is sustainable, legal and traceable. DENR has also adopted robust enforcement-related decisions to fight wildlife crimes in the country.
Recognizing the threats of the illegal wildlife trade (IWT) to the country’s biodiversity and economy, the Philippine government passed legislation, created inter-agency groups to combat the trade in illegal wildlife and wildlife parts, and is building capacity across the law enforcement chain.
The 10-year national Wildlife Law Enforcement Action Plan (WildLEAP) 2018-2028, which is aligned with the Philippine Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan, serves as the national road map to address wildlife crimes and a guide to prioritizing enforcement activities, allocating funds and resources, and
evaluating impacts of enforcement.
With the collaboration of key law enforcement agencies, national, regional, provincial and local government bodies, and civil society organizations, WildLEAP will focus on stronger policies, networking and coordination, building capacity, communication, education and public awareness, improving governance and curbing corruption.
- 5 tons of elephant ivory tusks (1996–2009)
- 1,522 mynas (2000–2006)
- 652 blue-naped parrots (2000–2006)
- 95 kg of pangolin scales and 36 kg of pangolin
- meat equivalent to approximately 200
- individual pangolins (2012)
- 2,870 pangolins (2013)
- 354 marine turtles (2014)
- 4,300 freshwater turtles, 4,000 of which were
- Philippine forest turtles (2015)
- 58 pangolins (2017)
- 70 hawksbill turtles (2017)
- 58 Goffins cockatoos (2017)
- nearly 1,000 endemic pitcher plants and lady
- slipper orchids (2017)
- 106 sulfur-crested cockatoos (2018)
- 462 Indonesian endemic parrots over at least
- 4 seizures (2013–2017)
Realizing the need to combat illegal wildlife trading in the Philippines, the Philippine Government thru the Biodiversity Management Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources has launched the ADB/GEF-DENR Project on Illegal Wildlife Trade (IWT): Combatting Environmental Organized Crime in the Philippines.
It is a 3-year GEF-6-funded project executed by the DENR- Biodiversity Management Bureau with the ADB as the GEF Implementing Agency. The Project aims to combat environmental organized crime in the Philippines through legal and institutional reforms, capacity building in the full law enforcement chain and to reduce demand for illegal wildlife and wildlife parts.
Its project sites are Metro Manila, Region 7 (Cebu) and Region 13 (Butuan).