#WildEye is a resource that provides easy access to data on wildlife trafficking in Europe.
Developed by journalists for journalists, it maps information on seizures, arrests, court cases and convictions. The platform also hosts a growing dossier of investigative reporting that either uses the map’s data, or is otherwise related to wildlife crime in Europe.
#WildEye was developed by the Oxpeckers Investigative Environmental Journalism in partnership with Internews’ Earth Journalism Network.
Europe is growing in importance as a trafficking hub for products such as African ivory and pangolin scales being sent to Asia. It is also a source of wildlife products that are in high demand in other regions, such as glass eels smuggled to China and birds of prey smuggled to the Middle East. Its role as a market for wildlife products is growing as well, particularly among communities with roots in Africa and Asia.
Yet media coverage of the illegal wildlife trade tends to focus on locations outside Europe. And until now, there has been no single place to access information easily on efforts to crack down on wildlife crime on the continent.
#WildEye addresses these gaps by tracking the scale of Europe’s role in the illicit trade and helping journalists to increase media coverage of the problem.
#WildEye’s main feature is a map of Europe showing where law enforcement agencies have been involved in action against wildlife trafficking. Each case is identified by an icon that signifies either a seizure, an arrest, a prosecution or a conviction.
Move your cursor over any icon and a text box will pop up, providing detailed information about what products were seized, who was arrested, and how much they were fined, for example.
The tool includes a search function to help users filter information and find topics of interest. If you want to learn about the illegal trade in birds, for instance, simply type “birds” in the search box and you’ll get a host of results covering seizures, arrests, court cases and convictions involving that word.
Journalists can use #WildEye to look for patterns and trends that can inspire new investigations. For example, why are there more seizures in some countries than others — is it due to more intense controls or to the preference smugglers have for certain routes? Why do so few seizures result in prosecutions and (fewer still) convictions?
Does the data reveal particularly popular smuggling routes for certain kinds of wildlife products? Where are most of the wildlife products that are seized coming from specifically, and where are they supposed to be going to?
Journalists can also use the data to identify cases on which to build new stories, through court records, or freedom of information requests. If you would like us to share the raw data with you, please contact Oxpeckers at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Yes. Journalists can add and share data to the tool whenever they come across it, for their own records and those of fellow journalists. If you know of seizures, arrests, prosecutions or convictions that are not on #WildEye, please contact Oxpeckers at email@example.com. Contributing to the consolidated database helps you keep a track of information, for research and story purposes.
Yes. One of the goals of #WildEye is to build on our dossier of stories based on the tool’s data. Using this tool and contributing to it will enhance public access to the stories it helps produce and allow networks of reporters to collaborate on pursuing deeper investigations.
The stories produced through the help of #WildEye data are featured on our map page, on the Oxpeckers site and the Earth Journalism Network site. These investigations have also been published by a wide range of third-party media outlets.
Please let us know if you use the # WildEye data in your investigations so Oxpeckers can help to share and boost your stories. We may also choose to feature them in our dossier of investigations. Your feedback will assist in refining this tool for use by other journalists.