A data directory to facilitate investigations on worldwide wildlife trafficking

Wildlife trafficking is a global phenomenon posing many negative impacts on socio-environmental systems.  Scientific exploration of wildlife trafficking trends and the impact of interventions is significantly encumbered by a suite of data reuse challenges. We describe a novel data directory  on wildlife trafficking and a corresponding visualization tool that can be used to identify data for multiple purposes, such as exploring wildlife trafficking hotspots and convergence points with other crime, discovering key drivers or deterrents of wildlife trafficking, and uncovering structural patterns. The open-access data directory is designed to be a living document and searchable according to multiple measures.  Keyword searches, expert elicitation, and peer-reviewed publications were used to search for extant sources used by industry and non-profit organizations, as well as those leveraged to publish academic research articles.  The directory can be instrumental in the data-driven analysis of unsustainable illegal wildlife trade, supply chain structure via link prediction models, the value of demand and supply reduction initiatives via multi-item knapsack problems, or trafficking behavior and transportation choices via network interdiction problems.

This research was supported by the U.S. National Science Foundation Grant CMMI-1935451. Gore was also supported by ISS-2039951.