The European Union (EU) has been dubbed a “silent hub” of illegal wildlife trade (IWT). The Member States of the EU are often acknowledged as transit points for trafficked wildlife; however, the extensive role of European Member States, and their citizens, in fuelling both the supply and demand for IWT within the geographical confines of Europe, has been overlooked to a significant degree.

Research from the BIOSEC team addresses this oversight, placing European consumers and European species such as sturgeon, songbirds, and timber front and centre of the discussion. The research examines the mechanisms by which IWT takes place in Europe, and also analyses the wider impacts of consumption of IWT products on European geographies and political ecologies. In particular, the research draws attention to the environmental, geopolitical and security dimensions of IWT in Europe.

Our research also turns attention to the EU as an institution, and a significant actor amongst the milieu of global institutions tackling wildlife crime. With IWT appearing as something of a burgeoning policy priority for the EU, our research critically analyses the efficacy of EU policy interventions and regulations designed to tackle IWT. In doing so, we highlight how European species and IWT issues are often overlooked by EU policies, and we aim to use these insights to inform future policy and practice.

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