Wildlife crime: describing the phenomenon

There are various definitions of “wildlife crime”. For example, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) defines it as "harvesting and trade contrary to national [and international] laws”. Wildlife crimes can be categorized differently, for instance, based on the motivations of the crime, the species targeted, and the methods used. National regulations may use a combination of these categorizations when describing these offences. This overview page provides a non-exhaustive list of wildlife crimes and some of the wildlife crime categorizations in use, which follow the scope of the SWiPE project. Due to this, there are some overlaps between the phenomena described by these categories.

Illegal collection of eggs

Eggs are taken from the wild and traded sometimes across the world. Although this practice is prohibited by several legal instruments, such as the Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats (Bern Convention) and EU Nature Directives, birders have witnessed multiple crimes related to egg collection.

These are often committed for collecting purposes, for hatching the eggs and keeping the birds when the species are difficult to breed in captivity, or for food (mostly sea and water birds). In some cases, the trade of these eggs is highly lucrative, but money is not always the main driver of this crime, as “end consumers” are often collectors, interested in the rarity of the species.