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Illegal Wildlife Trade: Financial Investigation Resources

To defeat the illegal wildlife trade (IWT), we need to 'follow the money'. 


Financial investigations are a key tool in the fight against IWT. 


Since 2017, the Royal United Services Institute has delivered financial investigations training to over 308 participants from 52 government agencies and 74 financial institutions across Africa. 


These trainings have shown how much enthusiasm there is for using financial intelligence in wildlife trafficking investigations, but many countries are only just beginning to use these approaches. 


Financial investigations are routine in investigating most other forms of organised crime, but are rarely used against IWT. 


To be successful, financial investigations require specialist skills and knowledge, as well as high levels of inter-agency cooperation. 


However, there are also key actions that first responders can take in the initial stages of any investigation to collect and preserve financial intelligence.

For this reason, we have developed new resources covering basic skills and best practices in the financial investigation of IWT:

Handbooks tailored to Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia, Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya 


How to conduct financial investigations against the illegal wildlife trade




















These handbooks contain the basic principles of using financial intelligence in IWT cases.


The handbook includes chapters on actions at the scene of a seizure or arrest, property searches, initial financial analysis, financial interview strategies and financial investigation strategies.


Please download the PDF and use full screen


Handbook for Malawi


Handbook for Zambia


Handbook for Mozambique - in Portuguese 


Handbook for Kenya 


Handbook for Tanzania


Handbook for Uganda 


Printable check lists for use in the field: 



Online Training Tool: *New Module* Best Practice in Financial Investigations 

In 2017, the Environmental Investigation Agency launched an online training platform.


This platform hosts 18 video modules covering specialised techniques such as the use of trained sniffer dogs, crime scene forensics and controlled deliveries. It also includes a short film providing a broad overview of the entire illegal ivory trade chain and key enforcement responses at different points.


This online training tool now includes a new module: Best Practice in Financial Investigations



Illegal Wildlife Trade: Best Practice in Financial Investigations from RUSI on Vimeohttps://vimeo.com/393897345


This module is hosted on a password-protected site for enforcement personnel only.


To access the online training tool, please email combattingivorytrade@eia-international.org with your name, position and organisation.  


These resources have been created by the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) in partnership with the Environmental Investigation Agency, with funding from the UK Government through the Illegal Wildlife Trade Challenge Fund.


For comments, questions and suggested updates, please contact alexandriar@rusi.org


You can read more of RUSI's research on environmental crime here.