Poaching for Profit

Almost every part of a wild cat can be sold on the black market. Claws and teeth are turned into jewelry and decorations. Bones are consumed in wine and traditional medicine. Meat is considered a delicacy, and skins are displayed to signify status.
Help us end the demand.


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$19 Billion

The estimated annual value of the illegal wildlife trade industry.

jaguar and pelt

LEFT: A jaguar explores its forest home. RIGHT: A merchant displays a pelt for sale.



What is Wildlife Trafficking?

Wildlife trafficking is the illegal collection, transport, and sale of plants and animals. Whether the animals and plants are smuggled dead or alive, wildlife trafficking is a grim, black market industry, estimated to be worth more than $19 billion globally, every year.


Big cat species: cheetah, clouded leopard, jaguar, leopard, lion, puma, snow leopard, tiger.

Cheetah mom with cubs

Cheetah cubs are popular in the exotic pet trade.



Wildlife Trafficking is Deadly

Wildlife trafficking often involves horrific conditions for wildlife. When wildlife is smuggled alive, destined for the exotic pet trade, the animal frequently dies in transit.

Rare reptiles, birds, and mammals—including cat cubs—are coveted as exotic pets. Around the world, bears, wild cats, and other species are kept in private homes like domesticated pets. While they mean well, most exotic pet owners aren’t properly equipped to care for them. Many trafficked animals that make it into a home eventually die from malnutrition, lack of veterinary care, and other complications.

When part of an animal is taken for the illegal wildlife trade—pelts, paws, bones, organs, and teeth—the animal is killed so that the desired pieces can be collected.

Ghost Cat

Snow leopards have an uncanny, almost mystical ability to disappear among the rocks and snow.

A snow leopard among the rocks

Extremely shy and very well camouflaged, the snow leopard is sometimes referred to as the "ghost cat of the Himalayas." With population estimates as low as 3,500, it's up to us to prevent this "ghost" from vanishing forever.



Wildlife Trafficking is Unsustainable

Wildlife trafficking adversely affects species, pushing them toward extinction. Illegally collecting wildlife is detrimental to a country’s efforts to manage and maintain its natural resources. When plants and animals are carelessly poached from natural habitats, ecosystems become unbalanced and often come crashing down.

Poaching is different from permitted harvesting, which is regulated and monitored. In legal hunting, fishing, or gathering, an individual applies for—and purchases—a permit, usually granted by a wildlife management agency. Permitting allows that agency to track and manage natural resources, ensuring healthy wildlife populations and long-term sustainability.

To protect wild cats and ensure their survival, we’ve launched the Global Cat Conservancy™. Help us kick off this lifesaving effort.

Your tax-deductible gift to the Global Cat Conservancy™ will help fight poaching and wildlife trafficking, protect humans and wild cats from deadly clashes with each other, and help scientists find cures for life-threatening diseases that are devastating wild cat populations.



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A cheetah in the wild