Trafficking is typically connected to human smuggling. However, the trafficking of wildlife does occur in the United States and throughout the world.

What Is Wildlife Trafficking?

Wildlife trafficking is the illegal gathering, transporting, and distributing of animals. Trafficking is also considered anything connected to the animals called derivatives.

Is Wildlife Smuggling Illegal?

Yes. Federal laws were enacted to protect the world’s wildlife. These laws include:

  • Protecting endangered species
  • Preventing the importation of wildlife into the U.S.
  • Enforcing wildlife laws around other countries

Are There State Laws to Protect Wildlife?

Yes. The laws vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Most states protect their native wildlife and control the introduction of non-native wildlife into their jurisdictions. They also regulate trade within their state regarding wildlife.

Can I Go to Prison for Wildlife Trafficking?

Yes. The specific time behind bars vary according to state and federal laws. For example, the killing, hunting, or trapping wildlife may be a fine and prison time for up to one year according to Title 18 of the U.S. code.

Is Poaching Considered Wildlife Trafficking?

No. Poaching is the illegal killing of wildlife. The animals are generally killed for their body parts, skin, or meat. The term “body parts” refers an illegal part of an animal’s body that is sought after such as ivory or fur. Poaching will result in time in prison.

Do I Need a Lawyer Regarding Wildlife Trafficking?

Yes. If you are accused of or indicted on violating a state or federal wildlife trafficking law, contact a criminal attorney. An attorney will be able to help you determine the best legal strategy to pursue or negotiate a plea deal.