In this book the author examines the illegal wildlife trade from multiple perspectives: the historical context, the impact on the environment, the scope of the problem internationally, the sociocultural demand for illegal products, the legal efforts to combat it, and several case studies from inside the trade. The illegal wildlife trade has become a global criminal enterprise, following in the footsteps of drugs and weapons. Beyond the environmental impact, financial profits from the illegal wildlife trade often fund organized crime groups and violent gangs that threaten public safety and security in myriad ways.
This innovative volume covers several key questions surrounding the wildlife trade: why is there a demand for illegal wildlife products, which actors are involved in the trade, how is the business organized, and what are the harmful consequences. The author performed ethnographic fieldwork in three key markets: Russia, Morocco, and China, and has constructed a detailed picture of how the wildlife trade operates in these areas.
Conversations with informants directly involved in the illegal business ensure unique insights into this lively black market. In the course of his journey the author follows the route of the illegal wildlife trade from poor poaching areas to rich business districts where corrupt officials, legally registered companies, wildlife farms and sophisticated criminal organizations all have a share. A fascinating look inside the world of poachers, smugglers and traders.