Wildlife Crime: Issues and Promising Solutions

A special issue of Animals (ISSN 2076-2615). This special issue belongs to the section "Wildlife".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 November 2021) | Viewed by 27320

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Department of Criminal Justice, Florida International University, Miami, FL 33199, USA
Interests: situational crime prevention; crime mapping; conservation criminology; wildlife crime

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Guest Editor
Fenner School of Environment and Society, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia
Interests: forensic genetics; conservation biology; wildlife trade; conservation genomics

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The poaching of wildlife for profit, pleasure, subsistence, or as a result of human–animal conflict has decimated wildlife populations—particularly those of at-risk species. Given the ease of poaching wildlife throughout the world and the significant demand for specific species and their derivatives, wildlife trafficking is among the most profitable illicit transnational industries (Moreto and Pires, 2018). Seizure and government reports have shown a steady increase in wildlife trafficking, and many of the most endangered species continue to experience population declines. Despite technological advancements to detect and prevent poaching and trafficking, current approaches to curb the trade have had limited success and are not working. This Special Issue on “Wildlife Crime: Issues and Promising Solutions” has a broad objective of soliciting empirical research on the nature of the illegal wildlife trade; novel solutions to track, prove, and prevent wildlife crime; and evaluative research on enacted legislation or interventions that have the potential to be replicated in other contexts. Altogether, this volume of work is an effort to significantly contribute to our understanding of how the illicit trade operates and provide viable solutions to mitigate threats to protected wildlife.

Dr. Stephen F. Pires
Dr. George Olah
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • poaching
  • wildlife crime
  • wildlife trafficking
  • illegal wildlife trade
  • human-animal conflict
  • rangers
  • protected areas
  • forensic genetics
  • tracking animal trade
  • online trade of wildlife

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Editorial

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4 pages, 187 KiB  
Editorial
Wildlife Crime: Issues and Promising Solutions
by Stephen F. Pires and George Olah
Animals 2022, 12(14), 1736; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12141736 - 6 Jul 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2522
Abstract
The poaching of wildlife for profit, pleasure, subsistence, or as a result of human–animal conflict has decimated wildlife populations—particularly those of at-risk species [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wildlife Crime: Issues and Promising Solutions)

Research

Jump to: Editorial

13 pages, 1367 KiB  
Article
Confounding Rules Can Hinder Conservation: Disparities in Law Regulation on Domestic and International Parrot Trade within and among Neotropical Countries
by Pedro Romero-Vidal, Martina Carrete, Fernando Hiraldo, Guillermo Blanco and José L. Tella
Animals 2022, 12(10), 1244; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12101244 - 12 May 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2343
Abstract
Wildlife trade is a major driver of biodiversity loss worldwide. To regulate its impact, laws and regulations have been implemented at the international and national scales. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) has regulated the [...] Read more.
Wildlife trade is a major driver of biodiversity loss worldwide. To regulate its impact, laws and regulations have been implemented at the international and national scales. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) has regulated the international legal trade since 1975. However, an important volume of illegal trade—mainly within countries—continues to threaten several vertebrate groups, which could be due to a lack of specific legislation or enforcement of existing regulations. Our aim was to gain a more accurate picture of poaching and legal possession of native parrots as pets in the Neotropics, where illegal domestic trade is currently widespread. We conducted a systematic search of the laws of each of the 50 countries and overseas territories, taking into account their year of implementation and whether the capture, possession and/or sale of parrots is permitted. We compared this information with legal exports reported by CITES to assess differences between the enforcement of international and national trade regulations. We found that only two countries (Guyana and Suriname) currently allow the capture, trade and possession of native parrots, while Peru allowed international legal trade until recently. The other countries have banned parrot trade from years to decades ago. However, the timing of implementation of international and national trade regulations varied greatly between countries, with half of them continuing to export parrots legally years or decades after banning domestic trade. The confusion created by this complex legal system may have hindered the adoption of conservation measures, allowing poaching, keeping and trade of protected species within and between neighboring countries. Most countries legally exported Neotropical parrot species which were not native to those countries, indicating that trans-border smuggling often occurred between neighboring countries prior to their legal exportations, and that this illicit activity continues for the domestic trade. Governments are urged to effectively implement current legislation that prohibits the trapping and domestic trade of native parrots, but also to develop coordinated alliances and efforts to halt illegal trade among them. Otherwise, illegal trade will continue to erode the already threatened populations of a large number of parrot species across the Neotropics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wildlife Crime: Issues and Promising Solutions)
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16 pages, 2694 KiB  
Article
Threats of Longline Fishing to Global Albatross Diversity
by Gohar A. Petrossian, Stephen F. Pires, Monique Sosnowski, Prabha Venu and George Olah
Animals 2022, 12(7), 887; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12070887 - 31 Mar 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 3238
Abstract
Albatrosses are among the most threatened seabird species. Often entangled in gillnets or hooked while longline fishing gear is being set, albatrosses are affected by fishing. This is assumed to be especially true in cases where illegal longline fishing vessels are involved, as [...] Read more.
Albatrosses are among the most threatened seabird species. Often entangled in gillnets or hooked while longline fishing gear is being set, albatrosses are affected by fishing. This is assumed to be especially true in cases where illegal longline fishing vessels are involved, as they are less likely to implement the bycatch mitigation measures implemented to reduce the risk of albatrosses being caught on their hooks. This is the assumption that was tested in the current study, which uses environmental criminology as its guiding theoretical framework. Using the spatial units of one-half-degree by one-half-degree longitude/latitude cells, this research examined the patterns of concentration of potentially illegal longlining efforts and their relationships to commercially sought-out and illegally caught (i.e., CRAAVED—concealable, removable, abundant, accessible, valuable, enjoyable, disposable) fish species concentrations, as well as their effects on the average risk of albatrosses. The results indicated that (a) potentially illegal longlining activity is spatially concentrated; (b) this concentration is exhibited in areas with the highest concentrations of the presence of CRAAVED fish; and (c) the average risk score of albatrosses, as measured by their International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List status, is significantly higher in the areas where illegal longlining vessels are found controlling for the activities of legal longlining vessels. These findings provide strong grounding that illegal longline fishing poses a particularly serious threat to the survival of albatrosses. These activities, however, are not randomly spread across the vast oceans, but rather are highly spatially concentrated. Therefore, the bird conservation lobby should work closely with regional fisheries management organizations to devise and implement targeted interventions aimed at reducing potential illegal longline fishing, which, in turn, will likely have positive effects on albatrosses. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wildlife Crime: Issues and Promising Solutions)
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21 pages, 901 KiB  
Article
Disentangling the Legal and Illegal Wildlife Trade–Insights from Indonesian Wildlife Market Surveys
by Vincent Nijman, Thais Q. Morcatty, Kim Feddema, Marco Campera and K. A. I. Nekaris
Animals 2022, 12(5), 628; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12050628 - 2 Mar 2022
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 5896
Abstract
It is challenging to disentangle the legal and illegal aspects of wild-caught animals that are traded in wildlife markets or online, and this may diminish the value of conducting wildlife trade surveys. We present empirical studies on the trade in birds (ducks, owls, [...] Read more.
It is challenging to disentangle the legal and illegal aspects of wild-caught animals that are traded in wildlife markets or online, and this may diminish the value of conducting wildlife trade surveys. We present empirical studies on the trade in birds (ducks, owls, songbirds, non-passerines) in Indonesia (2005 to 2021). Based on visits to wildlife markets, wholesale traders, and monitoring of an Instagram account, we examine if five specific pieces of legislation (domestic and international) are adhered to: (1) protected species, (2) harvest quota, (3) welfare, (4) provincial transport restrictions, and (5) illegal import of CITES-listed species. Our five distinctly different case studies showed that in each case, certain rules and regulations were adhered to, whilst others were violated to varying degrees. When trade involved non-protected species, there was frequently a lack of harvest quotas or trade occurred above these allocated quotas. Basic welfare provisions were regularly and habitually violated. Visiting wildlife markets and recording first-hand what is openly offered for sale is a highly reliable, verifiable, and valuable method of data collection that can give insight in numerous aspects of the animal trade. Our research provides support for recognising the urgency for the government to take appropriate action to curb all the illegal aspects of the bird trade in Indonesia. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wildlife Crime: Issues and Promising Solutions)
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14 pages, 2567 KiB  
Article
Molecular Sexing and Species Detection of Antlered European Hunting Game for Forensic Purposes
by Petra Zenke, Orsolya Krisztina Zorkóczy, Pál Lehotzky, László Ózsvári and Zsolt Pádár
Animals 2022, 12(3), 246; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12030246 - 20 Jan 2022
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 3264
Abstract
Molecular sexing techniques are widely applied in conservation biology, although the range of forensically validated methods is fairly limited. The primary aim of this work was to develop forensically validated assays, using two PCR panels for sex and species assignment for the abundant [...] Read more.
Molecular sexing techniques are widely applied in conservation biology, although the range of forensically validated methods is fairly limited. The primary aim of this work was to develop forensically validated assays, using two PCR panels for sex and species assignment for the abundant antlered European game species: red deer (Cervus elaphus), roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) and fallow deer (Dama dama). Segments of the SRY and Amelogenin X/Y genes for sex determination, additionally species-specific cytochrome b regions for species detection were targeted and separately amplified in two multiplex reactions. These assays can reliably analyze trace amounts of DNA. The results of both can easily be visualized and interpreted practically, either on agarose gel or by capillary electrophoresis. These simple, fast molecular assays are able to affect the early-stage resolution of disputed or unsolved poaching cases, without the need of individualization or sequencing of forensic samples. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wildlife Crime: Issues and Promising Solutions)
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12 pages, 1242 KiB  
Article
Combination of Multiple Microsatellite Analysis and Genome-Wide SNP Genotyping Helps to Solve Wildlife Crime: A Case Study of Poaching of a Caucasian tur (Capra caucasica) in Russian Mountain National Park
by Andrey Rodionov, Tatiana Deniskova, Arsen Dotsev, Valeria Volkova, Sergey Petrov, Veronika Kharzinova, Olga Koshkina, Alexandra Abdelmanova, Anastasia Solovieva, Alexey Shakhin, Nikolay Bardukov and Natalia Zinovieva
Animals 2021, 11(12), 3416; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11123416 - 30 Nov 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 3170
Abstract
Poaching is one of the major types of wildlife crime in Russia. Remnants of goats (presumably the wild endemic species, the Caucasian tur) were found in an area of the Caucasian mountains. The case study involves a suspected poacher whose vehicle was found [...] Read more.
Poaching is one of the major types of wildlife crime in Russia. Remnants of goats (presumably the wild endemic species, the Caucasian tur) were found in an area of the Caucasian mountains. The case study involves a suspected poacher whose vehicle was found to have two duffel bags containing pieces of a carcass, which he claimed was that of a goat from his flock. The aim of the forensic genetic analysis for this case was to (i) establish individual identity and (ii) perform species identification. DNA typing based on fourteen microsatellites revealed that STR-genotypes generated from pieces of evidence found at crime scene fully matched those obtained from the evidence seized from the suspect. The results of genome-wide SNP-genotyping, using Illumina Goat SNP50 BeadChip, provided evidence that the poached animal was a wild Caucasian tur (Capra caucasica). Thus, based on comprehensive molecular genetic analysis, evidence of poaching was obtained and sent to local authorities. To our knowledge, this case study is the first to attempt to use DNA chips in wildlife forensics of ungulates. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wildlife Crime: Issues and Promising Solutions)
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17 pages, 285 KiB  
Article
When Human–Wildlife Conflict Turns Deadly: Comparing the Situational Factors That Drive Retaliatory Leopard Killings in South Africa
by Julie S. Viollaz, Sara T. Thompson and Gohar A. Petrossian
Animals 2021, 11(11), 3281; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11113281 - 16 Nov 2021
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 3326
Abstract
Retaliatory killings caused by human-wildlife conflict have a significant impact on the survival of leopards. This study explores the reasons for retaliatory killings of leopards by interviewing community members in a small village in South Africa that experienced high incidences of human–leopard conflict. [...] Read more.
Retaliatory killings caused by human-wildlife conflict have a significant impact on the survival of leopards. This study explores the reasons for retaliatory killings of leopards by interviewing community members in a small village in South Africa that experienced high incidences of human–leopard conflict. The semi-structured interviews focused on the reasons why retaliatory leopard killings occurred and how to best mitigate the situational factors that triggered these killings. Respondents cited four main problems that fueled these killings: the government’s response to human–leopard conflict was slow and unwilling; this response involved inefficient methods; there were inadequate resources to respond to these killings; and there was a clear lack of laws or their application. Local stakeholders provided a range of innovative strategies to reduce human-leopard conflict and retaliatory killings. While all parties expressed different reasons why these solutions were or were not effective, their conclusions were often similar. The distrust that existed between the parties prevented them from recognizing or accepting their common ground. Based on existing human–wildlife conflict mitigation techniques and solutions identified by local stakeholders, this article explores how criminological techniques, including situational crime prevention, can help identify and frame effective interventions to reduce the number of illegal leopard killings driven by human-wildlife conflict. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wildlife Crime: Issues and Promising Solutions)
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