Wildlife trafficking is high on conservation and political agendas. It is also increasingly high on the global crime agenda. Rightly so: corruption was identified recently by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime as the main enabler of wildlife trafficking – one of the largest transnational criminal activities in the world.
A dramatic decline in Africa’s savanna elephant populations caused by poaching - as exposed by the results of a three-year aerial survey released this week - has piled pressure on reluctant governments to back proposals that would lead to bans on domestic trade in ivory.
Although it violates the international conventions that regulate the wildlife trade, it is possible to go online and find websites to buy, for example, axolotl salamanders (Ambystoma mexicanum) or spiny softshell turtles (Trionyx spiniferus).
Threats from climate change, declining reefs, overfishing and possible loss of several commercial species are driving the rollout of new policy measures to keep Caribbean fisheries sustainable.
The wildlife trade monitoring network, TRAFFIC, is deploying a new forensic weapon - DNA testing - to track illegal ivory products responsible for the slaughter of hundreds of endangered elephants in Asia and Africa.
A coalition of international organisations, led by INTERPOL and backed by the United Nations, is pursuing a growing new brand of criminals - primarily accused of serious environmental crimes - who have mostly escaped the long arm of the law.
Environmentalists are formally urging President Barack Obama to enact trade sanctions on Mozambique over the country’s alleged chronic facilitation of elephant and rhinoceros poaching through broad swathes of southern Africa.
The United States has become the first developed country to destroy its stock of seized ivory, a move being widely lauded by conservation groups pushing for an outright ban on domestic ivory sales.
A distance of nearly 9,000 kilometres separates Malaysia from Africa, but that hasn’t stopped the Southeast Asian nation from becoming a key staging post in the illegal trade of ivory from Africa to China.
Efforts to protect the critically endangered Iriomote wildcat, a spotted, shy, feral creature native to the tiny Iriomote Island that forms part of the Okinawa Prefecture in southern Japan, are becoming a highly respected model of conservation here, where the government’s uneven track record in protecting imperiled species has frustrated wildlife activists for decades.
At first glance, the poster appears to be a typical advertisement for an African safari: a large rhinoceros set against a rugged, open terrain. Then you take a closer look and realise something is amiss.
While the Taliban’s military activities continue to plague Pakistan’s northern Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), the incessant violence has been a blessing in disguise for one creature: the falcon.