This brief sets out to describe how our understanding of the problems posed by the online IWT, and our responses to it, have evolved. It measures the progress made in exposing the threat posed by the adoption of digital platforms by traders in endangered wildlife and raises questions about what we have not yet been able to understand, and why we need to.

It looks at trends in the phenomenon and suggests what they mean for the next generation of efforts to address this issue. Lastly, it describes the most pressing issues on the online IWT agenda, and explains how the Global Initiative’s new project, Digital Dangers: Disrupting Online IWT, aims to contribute to tackling the problem.

Figure 1: Digital dangers through the decades: A timeline of the online wildlife trade: