Status: Approved

Project Code: STATE-MYS-139

Help Us END Illegal Wildlife Trafficking In Malaysia

Project Title Help Us END Illegal Wildlife Trafficking In Malaysia
Project Summary Develop a wildlife seizure and prosecution database to assist U.S. Embassy Kuala Lumpur in combating illegal wildlife trafficking in Malaysia and disrupting global wildlife trafficking networks. Collect, analyze and summarize open source data on illegal wildlife trafficking trends in Malaysia.
Country Malaysia
Country/Region of Focus Malaysia
Agency Department of State
DoS Office N/A
Section ESTH
Number of Interns 3
Project Description

The Eliminate, Neutralize, and Disrupt (END) Wildlife Trafficking Act states that it is the policy of the U.S. to take actions to stop the illegal global trade in wildlife. As Malaysia has been designated as a focus country under the act, U.S. Embassy Kuala Lumpur needs to monitor and assess threats to Malaysia's wildlife and the actions taken to combat illegal wildlife trafficking. The project will collect open source data on wildlife trafficking trends, assess the threat to Malaysia's wildlife, and summarize government actions to discourage and prevent it through the development database. The project will develop a tracker containing public data such as running tallies on the number of seizures, the estimated dollar value of seized items, the destination and sources of trafficked species, breakdowns by priority species, agencies/individuals responsible for the seizure, and successful/unsuccessful prosecutions of wildlife trafficking cases.

The output from this project will be used in the development of U.S. government-supported programs targeted at combating the illegal wildlife trafficking trade in Malaysia and the region. The VSFS will have the opportunity to brief the Embassy on their findings via a video conference.

Required Skills or Interests
Analytical writing
Data analysis
Data visualization
Design thinking
Additional Information

Malaysia is one of the most biologically diverse countries in the world with iconic endemic wildlife such as proboscis monkeys, orang utans, elephants and tigers. Unfortunately, a high number of endangered species are also threatened by the illegal wildlife trade. Due to its strategic location and good ports and airports, Malaysia is also a significant illegal wildlife smuggling hub for transporting ivory, rhino horns, pangolins, birds, reptiles, and others. The demand for endangered Malaysian wildlife from abroad is high, due to its high commercial value. Animals are aggressively hunted for decorative purposes or for their alleged medicinal properties. Often, animals are poached from protected areas and forest reserves. Species at risk include Sun Bears, Pangolins, Malayan Tigers, Elephants, Sambar Deer, Otters, Python, Tortoises, and many others. In an illustrative case of the threat posed to endangered species due to wildlife trafficking, in 2019 the Malaysian Sumatran Rhino was officially declared extinct in the wild. Your assistance in this project will not only assist in combating criminal networks but will also play a critical role in the continued survival of Malaysian wildlife.