In a locked room in the basement of a building in a secret location in Canada, the government stores the thousands of illegal wildlife items its law enforcement has seized at the border. Photographer Christine Fitzgerald, who was given special permission to visit, was struck by the magnitude of it all. She saw specimens ranging from zebra hooves, rhino horns, and bear claws to ivory carvings, bird feathers, and more.
“It really sinks in how horrific this problem is—the illegal trade of wildlife,” she says. “There isn’t a country that’s immune to this problem.”
While many people associate wildlife trafficking with Africa and China, Canada and the United States are also big consumers—and suppliers. Nearly 50,000 illegal shipments of wildlife and wildlife