The Biodiversity Crime Unit aims to prevent the illegal trading of animals and plants in the Western Cape. The unit provides the public with advice and information on various issues related to biodiversity crime. We also respond to reports of illegal activities, working closely with the South African Police Service to investigate biodiversity crime.

The unit helps national organisations combat biodiversity crime through its work with the National Biodiversity Investigators’ Forum and the National Wildlife Crime Reaction Unit.

In 2008, the unit investigated the wild harvesting of Hoodia gordonii, a succulent plant with medicinal properties. It helped to reform the system used to regulate Hoodia gordonii industry participants, with support from the Southern African Hoodia Growers’ Association. As a result, the harvesting of wild populations was phased out in 2008.