Wildlife Trade and the Military

Panoramic photo on Safety day

The Wildlife Conservation Society is reducing the demand for products made from threatened or endangered wildlife or containing parts of these animals by educating U.S. military about the consequences of purchasing such products while serving overseas. While deployed or stationed abroad, military personnel like to purchase souvenirs for friends and family and on occasion purchase items for resale in the U.S. Unfortunately, in countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan some of the products available in the local markets are made from wildlife protected by international and national laws. It is important to help military personnel distinguish endangered wildlife from the rest and avoid inadvertently purchasing items that might be confiscated by customs or create legal problems by breaking U.S., International, and Military Laws.

The result – U.S. military personnel might unknowingly purchase products which are illegal to purchase, transport across international borders, or resell resulting in confiscation of the items, fines, and potential imprisonment. Furthermore, the demand created by the purchase persuades local vendors to continue or increase hunting which will likely contribute to population declines and possible local extinction.

WCS is partnering with the Department of Defense to inform military personnel of the potential risks to wildlife and to themselves when purchasing wildlife trade items. To do this, WCS is involved in four projects:

Afghanistan Bazaar Surveys
DoD Legacy Work
Fort Drum Survey
Pre-Deployment Trainings

 Fur coats and hats  Blankets and Rugs
Fur coats and hats Blanket and rugs


 Knives with handles carved from bone or ivory  Turtle Shells
Carved ivory or bone Turtle shells


 Horns or Antlers  Taxidermy specimens, including mounted insects/butterflies
Horns or Antlers Taxidermy specimens, including mounted insects/butterflies


 Medicines containing animal parts  Stoles or Shawls
Medicines containing animal parts Stoles or Shawls


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