Journalists on three continents investigate wildlife trafficking


In a pioneering initiative, journalists from Asia, Africa, and Europe have formed the Global Environmental Reporting Collective to report on environmental degradation and species loss: two of the most important issues of our time.

The collective’s first project – “The Pangolin Reports” – focuses on the poaching, smuggling, and illicit trade of pangolins, the world’s most heavily trafficked mammal.

“While there has been growing media interest in the illicit trade, there is also a need for more cross-border collaboration – among independent journalists with specialized knowledge of their countries’ local situations, ” said Ying Chan, veteran journalist, and co-founder of the Collective. “Such complex, transnational issues require shoestring reporting across continents.”

“This is a new model of journalism in the digital age,“ said Patrick Boehler, the Collective’s managing editor. “We mobilize global resources to empower local journalism.”

Global Smuggling Networks

The wildlife trade specialists at Traffic recently estimated that 27 new smuggling routes are created by wildlife traffickers each year. We believe this is a sign of growing cooperation among African and Asian crime groups who have found growing demand for their illicit goods, especially in China.

A kilogram of pangolin scales is sold for likely use in Traditional Chinese Medicine in China at US$760, which is about 380 times that of a poacher’s US$2 reward in Cameroon, our reporters found.

The complexity of the wildlife trade makes cross-border collaboration among journalists imperative. The collective builds on the expertise and networks of local reporters and the reach of their local news organisations to bring these crimes to the attention of wider global audiences.

The Global Environmental Reporting Collective

The Global Environmental Reporting Collective is a collaboration among journalists in ten countries across Asia, Africa, and Europe.

The collective operates as a digital media startup, committed to producing quality journalism through local reporting and global collaboration.

Editorial committee members include veteran journalists Kunda Dixit, the founder and editor-in-chief of the Nepali Times in Nepal, and Wahyu Dhyatmika, the editor-in-chief of in Indonesia.

Contributing newsrooms include The Nepali Times,, Mongabay Indonesia, R.AGE in Malaysia, The Reporter in Taiwan, Green Echoes in Cameroon, The Premium Times in Nigeria, the Centre for Media and Development Initiatives in Vietnam, SWI in Switzerland, and the South China Morning Post in Hong Kong.

Initial funding for this project is provided by the Hong Kong-based ADM Capital Foundation, with an additional grant from the Africa-China Reporting Project of The University of Witwatersrand in South Africa.

If you are interested in joining our collective, enabling local journalists or have information on the trade, get in touch:

Twitter: @pangolinreports

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Ying Chan

Ying Chan

Co-founder and editorial board member of the Environmental Reporting Collective. Ying is an editorial and media consu…

Sherry Lee

Sherry Hsueh-Li Lee

Sherry Hsueh-Li Lee is the editor-in-chief of The Reporter and adjunct assistant professor of the Graduate Institute…

Patrick Boehler

Co-founder and editorial board member of the Environmental Reporting Collective. Patrick is an executive editor and m…

Kunda Dixit

Kunda Dixit

A former reporter for the BBC, Kunda is the founder and editor of Nepali Times and former chairman of the Centre for…

Wahyu Dhyatmika

Wahyu Dhyatmika

Wahyu Dhyatmika is the Editor-in-Chief of in Jakarta. The digital media is part of Tempo Media Group, a medi…