Moody’s shares financial threat of wildlife trafficking

Moody's Analytics has highlighted the financial risks posed by wildlife trafficking in a recent whitepaper, emphasising the urgent need for action

Financial intelligence and analytical platform Moody’s Analytics has released a whitepaper, assessing the urgent need to address wildlife trafficking – the third largest illicit activity, after drug trafficking and counterfeit goods. 

Currently, there is a global push to raise awareness and legislation to combat the issue, to prohibit wildlife tracking’s profitability for transnational crime organisations and its role in financial crimes.

“While Americans may have moved beyond the Tiger King craze of 2020, the country still has a big cat – and other wildlife trafficking – problem. Moody’s GRID data – used by clients to monitor watchlists and screen for customer and third-party risks – found the US has the highest number of entities associated with wildlife trafficking, and some of the most trafficked animals and products – 32% higher than India and 98% higher than Vietnam,” says Richard Graham, Third Party Risk Management lead at Moody’s Analytics.

“According to FinCEN, the US serves as a source, destination, and transit location. The size and scope of the financial system also make it more likely that bad actors will attempt to pass their illicit funds through. Effective screening and ongoing risk monitoring is therefore vital for corporations seeking to avoid reputational risk if the proverbial cat gets out of the bag,”.

Business impacts of wildlife trafficking 

Moody’s report highlights that wildlife trafficking has emerged as a significant global issue, primarily driven by the demand for exotic pets, commercial products and traditional medicine. Demand is most prominent in countries such as the US and China, with a prominent presence in Europe, too. 

According to FinCEN's Suspicious Activity Report (SAR) data, wildlife trafficking has seen an exponential 154% increase within the last review period, with an estimate of between US$7bn and US$23bn.

Recognising the numerous risks associated with wildlife trafficking, Moody’s launched its Analytics Know Your Customer screening services, to offer a comprehensive approach by integrating adverse media related to wildlife trafficking and specialised partner content. 

This approach helps clients mitigate the risks associated with wildlife tracking, including theft, forgery, fraud, human trafficking, drug trafficking, bribery and tax evasion, all of which can have damaging consequences for businesses, both in terms of reputation and finances.

Read the full whitepaper here.

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