Saturday, June 29, 2013

CRIMINAL NATURE: ORGANIZED CRIME


Today, the International Fund for Animal Welfare released our report Criminal Nature: The Global Security Implications of the Illegal Wildlife Trade, in order to highlight how the poaching epidemic has serious ramifications not just for endangered species, but also for nations and communities around the world. At $19 billion per year, the illegal wildlife trade ranks as the fourth most lucrative criminal activity internationally, behind only narcotics, counterfeiting, and human trafficking.


It includes everything from the slaughter of elephants for their ivory, to the sale of great apes and exotic birds as pets, to caviar, decorative tiger pelts, and rhinoceros horns used for carvings and traditional medicines.


 Whatever the end product, the results for animals are tragic and are leading to widespread population declines of many endangered species. Anyone who has seen the fallen carcass of a once-majestic elephant, tusks hacked off, can attest to the fact that poaching is cruel commerce.
 
Worse, it is driven by some of our basest impulses: the desire for status symbols and trophies. Sadly, the prices for animal items are skyrocketing: ivory costs up to $1,000 per pound. Rhino horn is more valuable than gold or platinum. Pangolins (a small nocturnal, scaled anteater) can fetch $1,000 each. Huge profits, combined with soft penalties for lawbreakers and lax enforcement, have created a perfect situation for organized crime to move in.
 
Criminal Nature – the dangerous links between poaching and organized crime By: Beth Allgood, IFAW June 24, 2013 

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