Leah W. Naess is a senior policy officer in the African Union Commission, Department of Rural Economy and Agriculture, Environment Deivision, based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where she focuses on wildlife conservation and climate change issues. She  previously worked in the Communication Department at the United Nations Environment Programme in Nairobi, Kenya.


The illegal trade and trafficking of wild flora and fauna pose environmental risks with implications beyond species extinction and animal welfare, although those impacts are substantial. To help address the problem in Africa, the research and policy communities must work closely along a broad spectrum of fields, among them conservation and criminology.