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Headline data

Source: Border Force, UK Visas and Immigration, and Immigration Enforcement

Geographical Area: United Kingdom

Unit of Measurement: Number of seizures

Footnote: Data for 2019 does not include any seizures made at Gatwick airport during Q4, due to a change in reporting systems. 2020 figures were impacted by the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic (see 'Other Information' below).

This table provides metadata for the actual indicator available from UK statistics closest to the corresponding global SDG indicator. Please note that even when the global SDG indicator is fully available from UK statistics, this table should be consulted for information on national methodology and other UK-specific metadata information.

Indicator available
Indicator description

This indicator provides the number of Border Force seizures of species, parts or derivatives of species, and products containing species that have been illegally imported.

Geographical coverage

United Kingdom

Unit of measurement

Number of seizures


CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) - An international agreement between governments. Its aim is to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival. CITES accords varying degrees of protection to more than 35,000 species of animals and plants, whether they are traded as live specimens, fur coats or dried herbs.

Available disaggregations

Figures provided in Border Force transparency data are given on a quarterly basis. The four quarters of each year have here been summed to provide an annual figure, as number of seizures is considerably volatile.

Other information

The total number of seizures may not equate to the sum of the CITES seizures, due to the possibility of multiple seizures. A multiple seizure is where two or more category types (e.g. caviar and timber) are seized on a particular occasion. The occasion is counted once in the total number of seizures, but a seizure is counted against each category.

Data for 2019 does not include any seizures made at Gatwick airport during Quarter 4, due to a change in reporting systems.

Seizure numbers in 2020 were impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic: There were extremely large reductions in both number of passengers and amount of cargo. In addition, enforcement work was disrupted by a stay-at-home order between March and August, and changes to work practices on return.

Volume of seizures by type are also available in the source data.

For further information on which species are protected by CITES please see UNEP checklist of CITES species, and for further information on trade in CITES species see the CITES Trade Database.

This indicator is being used as an approximation of the UN SDG Indicator. Where possible, we will work to identify or develop UK data to meet the global indicator specification. This indicator has not been identified in collaboration with topic experts.

Data last updated 03 December 2021
Metadata last updated 03 December 2021

This table provides information on metadata for SDG indicators as defined by the UN Statistical Commission. Complete global metadata is provided by the UN Statistics Division.

Indicator name

Proportion of traded wildlife that was poached or illicitly trafficked

Target name

Take urgent action to end poaching and trafficking of protected species of flora and fauna and address both demand and supply of illegal wildlife products

Global indicator description
UN designated tier

Tier II

UN custodian agency

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)

Link to UN metadata United Nations Sustainable Development Goals metadata for target 15.7 opens in a new window

Border Force, UK Visas and Immigration, and Immigration Enforcement



Earliest available data


Geographical coverage

United Kingdom

Link to data source Border Force transparency data - Februrary 2020 opens in a new window
Release date 26 February 2021
Next release


Statistical classification

Official Statistic

Contact details
Other information

Table BF_04 Convention of international trade of endangered species (CITES) seizures.

The stated release date refers to the publication the current data was taken from. The release is updated on quarterly basis.