Illegal Wildlife Trade Challenge Fund (IWTCF)

The Illegal Wildlife Trade Challenge Fund (IWTCF) is a UK government competitive grants scheme aimed at eradicating the illegal trade in wildlife.

The UK is committed to protecting endangered animals and plants from poaching and illegal trade.

The IWTCF provides funding for practical projects around the world that help eradicate illegal wildlife trade and, in doing so, reduce poverty.

Projects funded by the IWTCF aim to:

  • reduce demand for illegal wildlife trade products
  • ensure effective legal frameworks and deterrents
  • strengthen law enforcement
  • develop sustainable livelihoods to benefit people directly affected by illegal wildlife trade

Apply for funding

To find out more about the IWTCF’s criteria and objectives, including a database of previous IWTCF projects, and how to apply for funding, see the IWTCF website.

Other challenge funds

Other challenge funds which focus on supporting similar activities include:

  • Darwin Initiative offers funding for biodiversity conservation and poverty reduction activities in eligible low and middle income countries
  • Darwin Plus offers funding for the natural environment and climate change in the UK Overseas Territories (OTs)


For questions about IWTCF policy, contact the IWTCF Secretariat at Defra:

For queries about project applications, contact the applications team:

For queries about applying through the Flexi-Grant applications, contact the Flexi-Grant support team:

For queries relating to existing projects, contact the fund administrators:

Published 16 October 2020
Last updated 3 November 2022 + show all updates
  1. The fund administrators are now called NIRAS. Updated email addresses in the 'Contact' section.

  2. Removed the number of projects funded by the Illegal Wildlife Trade Challenge Fund (IWTCF). This information can be found on the IWTCF website.

  3. Updated the number of projects funded by the Illegal Wildlife Trade Challenge Fund.

  4. First published.