Why Illegal Wildlife Trade Thrives

Another wild tale from the illegal wildlife trade, this one about a Malaysian smuggler that

offers a window on the illegal wildlife trade and our broken system to combat it. Underfunded law enforcement, government corruption, controversy-shy NGOs, and a feeble international legal framework have yielded few inroads against wildlife syndicates or kingpins like Anson Wong.

At the end of this piece, the larger issue driving the illegal wildlife black market is acknowledged:

Wildlife smugglers, like any other breed of trafficker, obey the laws of supply and demand: As long as there is a market for rare and endangered animals, someone will find out how to get them there.

Let me elaborate: as long as there are cultures that value animal bile and body parts for supposed medicinal purposes, the illegal wildlife racket will thrive. It’s not as sexy as a story of a notorious smuggler brought to justice, but it’s a story that should be explored.

2 Responses to “Why Illegal Wildlife Trade Thrives”

  1. JohnB says:

    Not to be mean, but while there are rich unscrupulous Americans and Europeans who value rare pets for supposedly status purposes, the illegal wildlife racket will thrive too.

    We still fight the illegal traders whose markets are the pet shops of America and Europe.
    http://www.customs.gov.au/webdata/resources/files/wildlife_smuggling_fact_sheet.pdf

    It’s not just the “medicinal” market that results in this disgusting trade. Many in the supposedly civilised West have very dirty hands too.

    Just like the artifacts black market, the pieces go to the West, where the money is.

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