DHS Needs to Better Demonstrate Its Efforts to Combat Illegal Wildlife Trafficking
DHS could not provide any performance measures and provided only limited data to demonstrate the full extent or effectiveness of its efforts to enforce wildlife trafficking laws. In addition, CBP personnel inconsistently recorded data on wildlife encounters, and ICE Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents did not always completely or accurately record actions and data related to wildlife trafficking. CBP personnel also did not always demonstrate that they involved ICE HSI special agents when suspecting wildlife trafficking crimes. Finally, DHS did not establish performance goals to measure the results of its efforts to combat wildlife trafficking. We attributed these issues to DHS, CBP, and ICE not providing adequate oversight, including clear and comprehensive policies and procedures, of wildlife trafficking efforts. As a result, DHS may be missing opportunities to curtail the spread of zoonotic viruses and disrupt transnational criminal organizations that use the same networks for other illicit trafficking, such as narcotics, humans, and weapons. We made one recommendation to improve the Department’s efforts to combat wildlife trafficking. The Department concurred with the recommendation and provided a plan to improve its efforts.