Another Inconvenient Truth: The Failure of Enforcement Systems to Save Charismatic Species
IN SPITE OF SIGNIFICANT recent advances in understanding how to conserve species we are failing to conserve some of the most beloved and charismatic, with severe population losses, shrinking ranges and extinctions of subspecies. The primary reason is hunting for illegal trade of highly valuable body parts, increasingly operated by sophisticated organized criminal syndicates supplying wealthy East Asian markets. Current enforcement systems were not established to tackle such crime, and weak governance, low capacity and inadequate resources facilitate the trade. To save these species this trade must be treated as serious crime, with allocation of sufficient resources, highly trained personnel, and appropriate technologies to allow it to be tackled effectively. Success in tackling this trade will necessitate commitment from governments and nongovernmental organizations and the support of civil society.