The illicit wildlife trade is a multi-billion-dollar business that spans the globe. Unfortunately, efforts to control it have often fallen short, and massive numbers of organisms are regularly removed from ecosystems and sold as pets, food, and traditional medicines. Writing in BioScience, Dr. Mary Blair, Dr. Minh Le, and their colleagues describe an integrative framework to help characterize and mitigate the wildlife trade. Based on Elinor Ostrom's social–ecological systems thinking, the framework incorporates biological, anthropological, socioeconomic, and other types of data to paint a holistic picture of the problem. Drs. Blair and Le join us on this episode of BioScience Talks to describe the ways in which this holistic view will help practitioners and stakeholders untangle the complex dynamics underlying the wildlife trade.