Uncovering the significance of and motivation for wildlife trafficking

Authored by: Tanya Wyatt

Routledge International Handbook of Green Criminology

Print publication date:  December  2012
Online publication date:  August  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415678827
eBook ISBN: 9780203093658
Adobe ISBN: 9781317809005


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Green crimes comprise a range of environmentally harmful activities, including the illegal trade of wildlife or wildlife trafficking. This chapter begins by providing a definition of wildlife traf-ficking as well as a brief explanation of the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), which is the most relevant international governing treaty. Drawing on CITES’ and Interpol’s work, data on the estimated scope and worth of this black market are given. The significance of wildlife trafficking as a green crime will be demonstrated through a consideration of how it is a danger to the environment, abusive to animals, and a threat to national security because of its ties to other criminal activity, such as corruption, organized crime, and terrorism. Then, four distinct categories of wildlife trafficking will be proposed in order to aid in the further exploration of the dynamics of this diverse illicit trade: processed commodities, collector’s items, traditional medicines, and food. For each of these categories, the supply and demand parameters, which make them distinctive, will be given and an example will be detailed.

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