Today, Rare, Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) announced the launch of Solution Search: Changing Unsustainable Trade, a crowdsourcing contest to identify organizations in Latin America and the Caribbean with innovative approaches to reducing illegal or unsustainable trade of wildlife.

Two grand prizes of USD $20,000 each will be given to the winners of the People’s Choice and the Judges’ Choice prizes. The People’s Choice prize is determined by a public online vote. The voting period will take place in early 2023. The Judges’ Choice prize is determined by a panel of expert judges.

Illegal and unsustainable trade of wildlife threatens worldwide biodiversity and environmental stability. From 2010-2018, officials in several Amazonian and Andean countries recorded more than 60,000 illegal activities involving 914 species and 300,000 animals. This is likely an underestimate as crimes are under-reported, under-recorded and infrequently prosecuted.

“While policy change and enforcement are necessary to curb environmental crimes, these measures are more effective if we also address the underlying motivations and barriers tied to those behaviors,” said Kevin Green, Vice President of Rare’s Center for Behavior & the Environment, which leads the competition. “Through Solution Search, we hope to spotlight organizations helping to curb environmental crimes like wildlife trafficking by shifting attitudes and behaviors within communities.”

“With this contest, we want to recognize innovative initiatives and effective actions within civil society to prevent environmental crimes, and our goal is to expand and replicate these initiatives across the Amazon Basin," said Mariana Varese, Chief of Party for the Together for Conservation project at WCS.

This is the seventh Solution Search, which identifies, spotlights, and accelerates solutions to environmental challenges focused on shifting behaviors and practices.

Previous contests sought solutions to face water pollution, household climate emissions, unsustainable agricultural practices, natural disasters, climate change adaptation, and overfishing.

This year, Solution Search is looking for initiatives to address unsustainable wildlife trade that promote a more complete toolkit for driving positive environmental actions and using key behavioral insights to complement the traditional approaches. These insights can be grouped into three categories:

  1. Social influence, which leverage the behavior, beliefs, and expectations of others;
  2. Emotional appeals, which use emotional messages to drive behavior; and
  3. Choice architecture, which are initiatives or solutions focused on the structure of the context in which decisions are made.

The contest is currently open and accepting entries until February 28, 2023. You can apply here.    

This initiative is developed within the framework of the Together for Conservation project, whose objective is to strengthen the capacities of civil society actors and their regional networks to lead efforts to conserve biodiversity and prevent environmental crimes in the Amazon.

For more information about partnership opportunities, please contact Solution Search at

About Rare

Rare is an international non-profit organization specializing in social change for people and the planet. For nearly 50 years, Rare has partnered with individuals, communities, and local leaders on the frontlines of conservation to promote the adoption of sustainable practices. With a behavior-based approach, Rare empowers individuals and communities to better manage and protect nature on which we all depend. Learn more at

About the Center for Behavior & the Environment

Rare’s Center for Behavior & the Environment (BE.Center) harnesses the science of human behavior to inspire this change. As conservation’s first center to explore the intersection of behavioral science and design for conservation, we are transforming how the environmental field tackles our global challenges. Learn more at

Solution Search, a contest initiated by Rare surfaces, spotlights, and accelerates existing solutions that use behavioral science to help solve the world’s most challenging environmental issues. Since its inception, Solution Search has gathered over 785 solutions from 127 countries around the globe. Now in its seventh iteration, Solution Search is designed to focus on one particular conservation challenge per contest and supports finalists and winners to scale their solutions and increase their impact.

Contact: Zach Lowe,


The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) administers the U.S. foreign assistance program providing economic and humanitarian assistance in more than 80 countries worldwide.  USAID plays a vital role in protecting critical ecosystems such as the Amazon Basin by conserving biodiversity and mitigating climate change, working directly with beneficiaries such as Indigenous Peoples and local communities. The Amazon Regional Environmental Program (AREP) envisions a healthy and resilient Amazon Basin that is valued by society, ensures human well-being, and safeguards our global climate.

About the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) saves wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature. To achieve our mission, WCS, based at the Bronx Zoo, harnesses the power of its Global Conservation Program in nearly 60 nations and in all the world’s oceans and its five wildlife parks in New York City, visited by 4 million people annually. WCS combines its expertise in the field, zoos, and aquarium to achieve its conservation mission. Visit: Follow: @WCSNewsroom. For more information: +1 (347) 840-1242.