News Feed Item

World Wildlife Day Highlights the Dangers of Wildlife Trafficking

TORONTO, ONTARIO -- (Marketwired) -- 02/28/14 -- At a time when the world's wildlife has never been more in danger of criminal exploitation, the United Nations has declared 3rd March World Wildlife Day as a celebration of wild fauna and flora and to raise awareness of illegal trade.

Just in time for World Wildlife Day, a new study published in the journal Biological Conservation describes the trafficking of wildlife and their products as one of the most profitable and attractive of all the illicit trades, possibly surpassed only by the trafficking of arms and drugs.

The article notes that several of the most notorious armed insurgent groups and terrorist organizations, including Darfur's Janjaweed and the Lord's Resistance Army led by the warlord Joseph Kony, among others - all now derive substantial profits from the illegal wildlife trade to fund their incursions, civil wars, and other acts of violence.

"Criminal organizations are systematically exploiting wildlife as a source of financing," said co-author Kelvin Alie of IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare). "And the corruption is spreading like a disease - into armies, border guards, police, judiciary, customs officers, embassy personnel, and even state diplomats in several countries, all of whom benefit from and actively facilitate the illegal wildlife trade."

Lead author, Dr Leo Douglas of the Center for Biodiversity and Conservation, American Museum of Natural History (AMNM), remarked: "The trade's attractivness is largely due to its relative lack of social stigma, small risk of arrest, and the woefully light penalties given to those few brought before the courts." Douglas notes that high-value wildlife are particularly attractive to criminal entities because their large scale killing and theft could be done quickly and inexpensively compared to the extraction of other high-value resources such as oil, gas, and most precious metals. "Wildlife products are classic "lootable resources," a subset of high-value natural resources that are relatively easy to steal, but particularly challenging to monitor from a crime-management perspective," said Douglas. Other natural resources that fall into this category include alluvial diamonds and gemstones, such as rubies.

The authors note that not only is the wildlife trade attracting huge profits, an extimated US$20-billion a year, criminologists have found that wildlife now serves a specialized role as "a form of currency" for terrorist and criminal organizations. Because wildlife commodities become the basis for the trade of drugs, ammunition, and humans, and a substitute for cash, the illegal wildlife trade has thus grown into a highly efficient form of money-laundering. Such exchanges appear particularly common among larger, more sophisticated criminal networks and terrorist organizations working across international borders.

The study illuminates that not only has the lucrative nature of the wildlife trade encouraged high-level corruption, and violence surrounding the mass-killing of large charismatic wildlife (such as lions, tigers, elephants, gorillas and rhinos), there was also simultaneously a more ominous dimension as rebel groups, insurgencies, and terror organizations were now also actively seeking out, capturing, and appropriating the profits of eco-tourism enterprises. For example, seizing on the profitability of high-value gorilla tourism, Congolese rebels murdered wildlife officers and captured licensed ecotourism operations only to begin their own to fulfill their economic ends. Similarly in Nepal, Maoist rebels have captured protected areas to begin unlicensed eco-tourism and trophy-hunting businesses to attract high-paying tourists.

Ecotourism is central to the tourism products and national economies for nations such as Botswana, Kenya, South Africa, and Tanzania.

"We are witnessing unprecedented attacks on wildlife and genuine ecotourism operations by emboldened criminals. Tackling wildlife crime can and must become a priority - not just for the sake of the animals and conservation but for national security and long-term economic sustainability," said Alie.

Trafficked wildlife is frequently smuggled under harrowing conditions in which many individuals die in transit. Because global demand for some species exceeds biological capacity, local or total extinctions of some species or sub-species have resulted. For example, several Rhino species or sub-species now face extinction. At risk of extinction due to poaching are also Sun Bears, Clouded Leopards, forest elephants, gorillas, tigers, orangutans, pangolins, among several other species. To stem this threat Douglas remarks that conservationists must actively link their knowledge about threatened wildlife to the international development, security, and political concerns with which the wildlife trade has become inextricably conjoined.

Please cite this article in press as: Douglas, L.R., Alie, K. High-value natural resources: linking wildlife conservation to international conflict, insecurity, and development concerns. Biol. Conserv. (2014), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2014.01.031

For more information, and to arrange an interview, please contact Leo R. Douglas or Kelvin Alie.

Res (Andreas) Krebs
Communications Officer
IFAW Canada
(416) 669-3459
[email protected]

Leo R. Douglas
Center for Biodiversity and Conservation
American Museum of Natural History (AMNH), New York City
[email protected] or [email protected]
1 (876) 807-4971

Kelvin Alie
Wildlife Trade Program
International Fund for Animal Welfare, Washington DC
[email protected]
1 (202) 536 1905

More Stories By Marketwired .

Copyright © 2009 Marketwired. All rights reserved. All the news releases provided by Marketwired are copyrighted. Any forms of copying other than an individual user's personal reference without express written permission is prohibited. Further distribution of these materials is strictly forbidden, including but not limited to, posting, emailing, faxing, archiving in a public database, redistributing via a computer network or in a printed form.

Latest Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today that LeaseWeb USA, a cloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) provider, will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. LeaseWeb is one of the world's largest hosting brands. The company helps customers define, develop and deploy IT infrastructure tailored to their exact business needs, by combining various kinds cloud solutions.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Hitrons Solutions will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Hitrons Solutions Inc. is distributor in the North American market for unique products and services of small and medium-size businesses, including cloud services and solutions, SEO marketing platforms, and mobile applications.
Without lifecycle traceability and visibility across the tool chain, stakeholders from Planning-to-Ops have limited insight and answers to who, what, when, why and how across the DevOps lifecycle. This impacts the ability to deliver high quality software at the needed velocity to drive positive business outcomes. In his general session at @DevOpsSummit at 19th Cloud Expo, Eric Robertson, General Manager at CollabNet, will discuss how customers are able to achieve a level of transparency that e...
Successful digital transformation requires new organizational competencies and capabilities. Research tells us that the biggest impediment to successful transformation is human; consequently, the biggest enabler is a properly skilled and empowered workforce. In the digital age, new individual and collective competencies are required. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Bob Newhouse, CEO and founder of Agilitiv, will draw together recent research and lessons learned from emerging and established ...
November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Penta Security is a leading vendor for data security solutions, including its encryption solution, D’Amo. By using FPE technology, D’Amo allows for the implementation of encryption technology to sensitive data fields without modification to schema in the database environment. With businesses having their data become increasingly more complicated in their mission-critical applications (such as ERP, CRM, HRM), continued ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Enzu will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Enzu’s mission is to be the leading provider of enterprise cloud solutions worldwide. Enzu enables online businesses to use its IT infrastructure to their competitive advantage. By offering a suite of proven hosting and management services, Enzu wants companies to focus on the core of their online busine...
Traditional on-premises data centers have long been the domain of modern data platforms like Apache Hadoop, meaning companies who build their business on public cloud were challenged to run Big Data processing and analytics at scale. But recent advancements in Hadoop performance, security, and most importantly cloud-native integrations, are giving organizations the ability to truly gain value from all their data. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, David Tishgart, Director of Product Marketing ...
For basic one-to-one voice or video calling solutions, WebRTC has proven to be a very powerful technology. Although WebRTC’s core functionality is to provide secure, real-time p2p media streaming, leveraging native platform features and server-side components brings up new communication capabilities for web and native mobile applications, allowing for advanced multi-user use cases such as video broadcasting, conferencing, and media recording.
Established in 1998, Calsoft is a leading software product engineering Services Company specializing in Storage, Networking, Virtualization and Cloud business verticals. Calsoft provides End-to-End Product Development, Quality Assurance Sustenance, Solution Engineering and Professional Services expertise to assist customers in achieving their product development and business goals. The company's deep domain knowledge of Storage, Virtualization, Networking and Cloud verticals helps in delivering ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloudbric, a leading website security provider, will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Cloudbric is an elite full service website protection solution specifically designed for IT novices, entrepreneurs, and small and medium businesses. First launched in 2015, Cloudbric is based on the enterprise level Web Application Firewall by Penta Security Sys...
The best way to leverage your Cloud Expo presence as a sponsor and exhibitor is to plan your news announcements around our events. The press covering Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo will have access to these releases and will amplify your news announcements. More than two dozen Cloud companies either set deals at our shows or have announced their mergers and acquisitions at Cloud Expo. Product announcements during our show provide your company with the most reach through our targeted audiences.
In the next five to ten years, millions, if not billions of things will become smarter. This smartness goes beyond connected things in our homes like the fridge, thermostat and fancy lighting, and into heavily regulated industries including aerospace, pharmaceutical/medical devices and energy. “Smartness” will embed itself within individual products that are part of our daily lives. We will engage with smart products - learning from them, informing them, and communicating with them. Smart produc...
SYS-CON Events announced today that 910Telecom will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Housed in the classic Denver Gas & Electric Building, 910 15th St., 910Telecom is a carrier-neutral telecom hotel located in the heart of Denver. Adjacent to CenturyLink, AT&T, and Denver Main, 910Telecom offers connectivity to all major carriers, Internet service providers, Internet backbones and ...
Extreme Computing is the ability to leverage highly performant infrastructure and software to accelerate Big Data, machine learning, HPC, and Enterprise applications. High IOPS Storage, low-latency networks, in-memory databases, GPUs and other parallel accelerators are being used to achieve faster results and help businesses make better decisions. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Michael O'Neill, Strategic Business Development at NVIDIA, focused on some of the unique ways extreme computing is...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Coalfire will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Coalfire is the trusted leader in cybersecurity risk management and compliance services. Coalfire integrates advisory and technical assessments and recommendations to the corporate directors, executives, boards, and IT organizations for global brands and organizations in the technology, cloud, health...