Lonely Planet Writer

Travellers help fight illegal wildlife trade with Wildlife Witness app

Sydney’s Taronga Conservation Society has developed a phone app designed to enable travellers to help fight the illegal wildlife trade. The ‘Wildlife Witness’ app was developed in partnership with TRAFFIC and launched at Taronga Zoo this month. It enables users to directly report illegal wildlife trade by taking a photo, pinning the exact location of an incident and sending these important details to TRAFFIC.

Taronga Zoo, Sydney.
‘Wildlife Witness’ app launched at Taronga Zoo, Sydney. Image by Robert Lindsell / CC BY 2.0


Reports are then analysed by a Wildlife Crime Data Analyst and credible incidents will be referred to enforcement agencies for action. Over time, this information will help build international intelligence about illegal wildlife trade, prioritise response action and highlight areas in need of increased enforcement resources.


Taronga Director, Cameron Kerr said: “The free Wildlife Witness app will become a powerful weapon in the fight to stop illegal wildlife trade, particularly in Southeast Asia.”

“Illegal wildlife trade is worth at least $19 billion annually and is threatening the future of wildlife all over the world. Today alone, 100 elephants will be killed and 12,000 bears are sitting in cages as part of the worldwide demand for wildlife products,” said Cameron.


“Wildlife Witness is the first global community action tool to tackle illegal wildlife trade. The app makes reporting these activities simple for both tourists and locals and will help give TRAFFIC the information they need to help address this global wildlife crisis.”

Sun Bear at Taronga Zoo, Sydney.
Sun Bear at Taronga Zoo, Sydney. Image by Mertie / CC BY 2.0

Taronga Zoo’s male Sun Bear, Mr Hobbs, was rescued as a cub from outside a Cambodian restaurant when an Australian traveller reported the incident to authorities. He was destined to be sold for bear paw soup.


The illegal wildlife trade is devastates wildlife populations around the world. By using the app, travellers can be part of a global effort to stamp out illegal wildlife trade.