Criminology Poaching
A.M. Lemieux
  • LAST MODIFIED: 30 March 2017
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780195396607-0214


Poaching, the illegal taking of wildlife, be it plants, animals, or fish, is the first event in a series of crimes that supply the global demand for illicit wildlife products. While international attention is typically given to trophy poaching of large, endangered animals such as the rhino, tiger, and elephant, this term applies to all forms of hunting/trapping/collecting outlawed by local legislation. Examples include hunting in protected areas even if the animals are not endangered, hunting without a permit or out of season, collecting eggs and live specimens, and illegal fishing or plant harvesting. After a poaching event, wildlife will typically be transported, processed, and sold on domestic or international markets. The umbrella term wildlife crime encapsulates poaching and all of the subsequent crimes related to the trafficking and sale of wildlife products. The citations listed below represent an interdisciplinary collection of literature that describe the drivers of poaching, how it can be studied, and what is known about its actors, prevalence, and distribution.

General Overviews

To understand the wildlife crime continuum, which begins with poaching, it is useful to read generally on the topic regarding the harvesting, processing, transport and sale of wildlife products. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime issued the “World Wildlife Crime Report,” which is a must read for a global perspective on wildlife crime and why it is considered a transnational organized crime. The well-researched, easy-to-read document provides up-to-date information and eight useful case studies. Fa, et al. 2005 and Lindsey, et al. 2013 focus on bushmeat poaching in the forests and savannas of Africa respectively. The international scope of these works helps readers understand the similarities and differences of hunting practices across the region. Given the rapid rise of rhino poaching in South Africa since 2008, Milliken and Shaw 2012 is an important read. The authors’ in-depth analysis of markets for rhino horn and the various poaching methods used, gives a well-rounded, well-informed view of the problem. Although poaching has long been considered a conservation issue, the criminal element has attracted the attention of criminologists. The result has been the introduction of “conservation criminology” by Gibbs, et al. 2009, research on the criminal opportunity structures of poaching by Lemieux 2014 and the wildlife trade by Schneider 2012, and the discussion in Wyatt 2013 of the problem from a green criminology perspective.

  • Fa, John E., Sarah F. Ryan, and Diana J. Bell. 2005. Hunting vulnerability, ecological characteristics, and harvest rates of bushmeat species in Afrotropical forests. Biological Conservation 121.2: 167–176.

    DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2004.04.016Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This paper examines hunting in thirty-six sites across seven countries in west and central Africa. It explores the methods used by bushmeat hunters in the region, the effort expended, and estimates harvest levels, measured by the number of carcasses and biomass, for various species.

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  • Gibbs, Carole, Meredith L. Gore, Edmund F. McGarrell, and Louie Rivers III. 2009. Introducing conservation criminology: Towards interdisciplinary scholarship on environmental crimes and risks. British Journal of Criminology 50.1: 124–144.

    DOI: 10.1093/bjc/azp045Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Explores the importance of criminology as a key component of interdisciplinary conservation work. The literature review is comprehensive and sheds light on the various ways criminologists have written about conservation issues, how these link to conservation, and how the “conservation criminology” framework incorporates various disciplines.

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  • Lemieux, A. M., ed. 2014. Situational prevention of poaching. Crime Science Series 15. London: Routledge.

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    Grounded in criminal opportunity theory, this volume investigates how opportunities for poaching develop, are exploited, and ultimately how situational crime prevention might be used to reduce or remove them from landscapes. The collection of studies covers a wide range of locations, species, and problems from around the world.

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  • Lindsey, Peter A., Guy Balme, Matthew Becker, et al. 2013. The bushmeat trade in African savannas: Impacts, drivers, and possible solutions. Biological Conservation 160:80–96.

    DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2012.12.020Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    An overview of the bushmeat trade in savanna landscapes which shows the problem is more detrimental than previously thought and a serious threat to sustainable ecosystems. It highlights why people hunt bushmeat, how the products are used, facilitators that enable the practice to continue, and ways to reduce its prevalence.

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  • Milliken, Tom, and Jo Shaw. 2012. The South Africa–Viet Nam rhino horn trade nexus: A deadly combination of institutional lapses, corrupt wildlife industry professionals and Asian crime syndicates. Johannesburg, South Africa: TRAFFIC.

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    A well-researched document describing the history of rhino horn trade, what drives the post-2008 onslaught of rhinos in South Africa, hunting methods and schemes used to obtain horn, and the end-market in Vietnam. While specific to rhinos, this piece lays bare the supply and demand aspects of poaching.

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  • Schneider, Jacqueline L. 2012. Sold into extinction: The global trade in endangered species. Global Crime and Justice. Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger.

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    A criminological perspective on the global trade in wildlife which contains a wealth of background information about legislation governing the trade, data sources that can be used, and species specific examples of the problem.

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  • United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. 2016. World wildlife crime report: Trafficking in protected species. New York: United Nations.

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    The first global assessment of wildlife crime by the United Nations. A well-written, comprehensive report that includes interesting case studies on various species, introduces the World Wildlife Seizures (World WISE) database, and provides policy recommendations for the international community.

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  • Wyatt, Tanya. 2013. Wildlife trafficking: A deconstruction of the crime, the victims, and the offenders. New York: Palgrave Macmillian.

    DOI: 10.1057/9781137269249Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Drawing from the green criminology and critical criminology perspectives, the book describes the construction of harms derived from wildlife trafficking that transcend the typical focus on impacts related to ecology or security. It is also a good source for background information about legislation and enforcement efforts.

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Drivers of Poaching

It is important to remember that “poaching, isn’t poaching, isn’t poaching”; there is no single rationalization or modus operandi that unites this crime type. Incentives to poach, and motivations for poaching, vary greatly between contexts and individuals. Poverty, market demands, sustenance, and cultural heritage are just some of the reasons why individuals choose to poach, but there is no standard or single explanation. Regarding poverty, Duffy, et al. 2016 gives a thorough, up-to-date review of the literature linking poverty to poaching. Kahler and Gore 2012 explores attitudes toward compliance in Namibia, looking for explanations of why some individuals hunt illegally and others obey the law. Kümpel, et al. 2010 investigates incentives for bushmeat hunting in Equitorial Guinea to determine the importance of different drivers. In Uganda, Harrison, et al. 2015 outlines the various reasons people engage in wildlife crime and the impact it has. Given that most poaching research focuses on Asian and African contexts, Muth and Bowe 1998, focusing on motivations in North America, highlights some of the key differences between these settings. The well-known studies Geist and Lambin 2002 and Sumaila, et al. 2006 examine the drivers of deforestation and illegal fishing respectively. A mathematical model presented in Milner-Gulland and Leader-Williams 1992 explores how law enforcement efforts impact incentives to poach.

  • Duffy, Rosaleen, Freya A. St John, Braam Buscher, and Dan Brockington. 2016. Toward a new understanding of the links between poverty and illegal wildlife hunting. Conservation Biology 30.1: 14–22.

    DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12622Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Poverty is commonly cited as the main driver of poaching, but is it really true? A comprehensive review of the literature helps untangle the myriad of factors that encourage illegal hunting, suggesting avenues for future research and policy.

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  • Geist, Helmut J., and Eric F. Lambin. 2002. Proximate causes and underlying driving forces of tropical deforestation tropical forests are disappearing as the result of many pressures, both local and regional, acting in various combinations in different geographical locations. BioScience 52.2: 143–150.

    DOI: 10.1641/0006-3568(2002)052[0143:PCAUDF]2.0.COSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Like other forms of poaching, deforestation is not driven by a single mechanism. By looking at more than 150 studies in different contexts, the authors are able to show that understanding this problem is no simple task. Different combinations of drivers explain deforestation at the local level.

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  • Harrison, Mariel, Dilys Roe, Julia Baker, et al. 2015. Wildlife crime: A review of the evidence on drivers and impacts in Uganda. London: IIED.

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    Individuals working in conservation, governmental and non-governmental alike, are one source of information about what drives poaching. Through interviews with practitioners, and reviewing the literature, the various motivations for poaching in Uganda are explored.

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  • Kahler, Jessica S., and Meredith L. Gore. 2012. Beyond the cooking pot and pocket book: Factors influencing noncompliance with wildlife poaching rules. International Journal of Comparative and Applied Criminal Justice 36.2: 103–120.

    DOI: 10.1080/01924036.2012.669913Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Knowing that communities near protected areas are often supportive of illegal hunting, it is important to understand why they see this as acceptable behavior. Focus groups and semi-structured interviews with local stakeholders help explain what motivates some individuals to hunt and others to comply with wildlife rules.

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  • Kümpel, Noëlle F., E. J. Milner-Gulland, Guy Cowlishaw, and J. Marcus Rowcliffe. 2010. Incentives for hunting: The role of bushmeat in the household economy in rural Equatorial Guinea. Human Ecology 38.2: 251–264.

    DOI: 10.1007/s10745-010-9316-4Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Income generation is a common explanation for why individuals hunt, accessing protein is another. Through interviews with households in Equatorial Guinea, a better understanding of the importance of each driver is explored. Unique to the study are the socioeconomic variables collected during interviews.

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  • Milner-Gulland, E. J., and N. Leader-Williams. 1992. A model of incentives for the illegal exploitation of black rhinos and elephants: Poaching pays in Luangwa Valley, Zambia. Journal of Applied Ecology 29:388–401.

    DOI: 10.2307/2404508Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Mathematical models are useful for exploring the drivers of poaching to determine when incentives to hunt outweigh the costs. The study compares how law enforcement capabilities affect incentives for local hunters and organized gangs. The capabilities modeled include probability of detection and capture, and sentencing outcomes.

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  • Muth, Robert M., and John F. Bowe. 1998. Illegal harvest of renewable natural resources in North America: Toward a typology of the motivations for poaching. Society & Natural Resources 11.1: 9–24.

    DOI: 10.1080/08941929809381058Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Context is important for understanding what drives poaching. Given that most poaching research focuses on non–North American contexts, the typology presented serves as an interesting comparison to the developing world.

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  • Sumaila, U. R., J. Alder, and H. Keith. 2006. Global scope and economics of illegal fishing. Marine Policy 30.6: 696–703.

    DOI: 10.1016/j.marpol.2005.11.001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    To prevent illegal fishing, it is important to understand what drives this behavior. By modeling the costs and benefits, the authors are convincing in their argument that high economic benefit, coupled with a low risk of apprehension and weak penalties make illegal fishing highly attractive.

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The Negative Impacts of Poaching

The impacts of poaching on biodiversity, ecosystems, economies, communities, and public health are serious concerns. Removing apex predators, keystone species, and natural habitat from a landscape can cause irreversible damage. For example, Fearnside 2005 notes that deforestation not only wipes out biodiversity, but also affects rainfall and the climate. In a case study of abalone poaching in South Africa, Hauck and Sweijd 1999 describes how the problem does not just harm the environment, but the economy, community, and local politics as well. Regarding biodiversity loss in the ocean, Worm, et al. 2006 clearly shows protecting underwater ecosystems is crucial to the sustainability of food supplies. Back on land, poaching is a serious threat to the sustainability of large carnivore populations, even more so than prey depletion, as demonstrated in Chapron, et al. 2008, and hinders the progress of reintroduction programs as described by Liberg, et al. 2012. Even bushmeat hunting has negative impacts on non-target species and forest ecosystems, as shown in Becker, et al. 2013 and Corlett 2007 respectively. The public health implications of bushmeat hunting and deforestation are clearly outlined by Wolfe, et al. 2005 which describes how zoonotic diseases can be spread through contact with wild animals.

  • Becker, Matthew, Rachel McRobb, Fred Watson, et al. 2013. Evaluating wire-snare poaching trends and the impacts of by-catch on elephants and large carnivores. Biological Conservation 158:26–36.

    DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2012.08.017Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Wire snares are indiscriminate traps used by poachers. While they may be targeting one species, others can easily be injured or killed. This study of by-catch investigates the negative impact of snares on elephants, lions, and wild dogs in Zambia’s Luangwa Valley.

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  • Chapron, Guillaume, Dale G. Miquelle, Amaury Lambert, John M. Goodrich, Stéphane Legendre, and Jean Clobert. 2008. The impact on tigers of poaching versus prey depletion. Journal of Applied Ecology 45.6: 1667–1674.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2664.2008.01538.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The four main drivers of decreased tiger populations are: poaching, prey depletion, human-wildlife conflict, and habitat destruction. But which one has the largest effect? This modeling exercise compares two of these, poaching and prey depletion, to determine which is the most likely to impact tigers and push them toward extinction.

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  • Corlett, Richard T. 2007. The impact of hunting on the mammalian fauna of tropical Asian forests. Biotropica 39.3: 292–303.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1744-7429.2007.00271.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Compared to hunting for sustenance, commercial hunting requires much larger quantities of biomass. As domestic and international markets for wildlife grow, additional demand places extreme pressure on traditional hunting areas. The impacts on forest ecosystems are worrying especially when new species are targeted.

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  • Fearnside, Philip M. 2005. Deforestation in Brazilian Amazonia: History, rates, and consequences. Conservation Biology 19.3: 680–688.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1523-1739.2005.00697.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The ecological impacts of deforestation go well beyond the loss of trees. This practice destroys habitat, reduces biodiversity, changes rain patterns, and contributes to global warming. The causes and levels of deforestation in Brazil are presented alongside suggestions for how to curb the destruction.

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  • Hauck, M., and N. A. Sweijd. 1999. A case study of abalone poaching in South Africa and its impact on fisheries management. ICES Journal of Marine Science 56.6: 1024–1032.

    DOI: 10.1006/jmsc.1999.0534Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The impacts of poaching are not only felt by ecosystems, but by communities dependent on the resource as well. Qualitative interviews with community members shed light on how abalone poaching affects fisheries management, biodiversity, as well as the socioeconomic and political ramifications of this crime.

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  • Liberg, Olof, Guillaume Chapron, Petter Wabakken, Hans C. Pedersen, N. T. Hobbs, and Håkan Sand. 2012. Shoot, shovel and shut up: Cryptic poaching slows restoration of a large carnivore in Europe. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B: Biological Sciences 279.1730: 910–915.

    DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2011.1275Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Poaching can have a negative impact on the success of reintroduction programs, such as wolves in Sweden. But quantifying this impact can be difficult as poachers use clever ways to hide their kills. A novel approach for monitoring “cryptic” poaching is presented.

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  • Wolfe, Nathan D., Peter Daszak, A. Marm Kilpatrick, and Donald S. Burke. 2005. Bushmeat hunting, deforestation, and prediction of zoonoses emergence. Emerging Infectious Disease 11.12: 1822–1827.

    DOI: 10.3201/eid1112.040789Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Zoonotic diseases, infections spread to humans from animals, can be a serious consequence of poaching and deforestation; approximately 75 percent of emerging infections are of animal origin. Understanding and predicting how this happens requires an interdisciplinary approach considering the overlap between virology, biology, and anthropology. A case study from Camaroon is presented.

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  • Worm, Boris, Edward B. Barbier, Nicola Beaumont, et al. 2006. Impacts of biodiversity loss on ocean ecosystem services. Science 314.5800: 787–790.

    DOI: 10.1126/science.1132294Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Losing biodiversity in the ocean is much more difficult to observe than when it happens on land. The impacts, however, are just as harmful considering the amount of food humans take from the ocean. Current trends indicate when biodiversity decreases, so do available resources.

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Data Sources

Unlike traditional crimes such as burglary and robbery, the victims of wildlife crime are unable to report incidents to police. This “silent victim” problem means quantifying levels of poaching, keeping records of where it happens, and monitoring temporal variations can be difficult. More importantly, publicly available data about the problem is not widely available, especially for micro-level studies. Gavin, et al. 2010 gives an overview of different ways to measure the illegal use of natural resources and the limitations of each method. Law enforcement records are one important source of information that can be used to study the spatial-temporal aspect of poaching events, see Critchlow, et al. 2015, or wildlife product seizures, see Petrossian, et al. 2016 and Underwood, et al. 2013. It is important to remember that these records are highly dependent on law enforcement efforts to detect wildlife crime and need to be analyzed with this bias in mind; for more information see Spatial Analyses of Poaching. DNA analysis of seized wildlife products is a novel technique for studying poaching as shown in Wasser, et al. 2015. While such data are not publicly available, the methodology is presented here as an example of innovative thinking about how to monitor poaching. For examples of poaching studies using publicly available data, see the estimations of illegal fishing levels by Agnew, et al. 2009, parrot poaching by Clarke and de By 2013, and information available from Global Forest Watch. For additional readings on methods for collecting poaching information see the sections: Ranger-Based Data Collection and Law Enforcement Monitoring, Offender-Based Research, Perceptions of Wildlife Law Enforcement Officers, and Market Surveys and Product-Based Approaches.

  • Agnew, David J., John Pearce, Ganapathiraju Pramod, et al. 2009. Estimating the worldwide extent of illegal fishing. PLoS One 4.2: e4570.

    DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0004570Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Using data from fifty-four countries around the world, the authors are able to estimate the volume of illegal fishing. Drawing from published literature and other databases, the manuscript is an important reference piece for analysis methodologies and data sources, especially the Sea Around Us project.

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  • Clarke, Ronald V., and Rolf A. de By. 2013. Poaching, habitat loss and the decline of neotropical parrots: A comparative spatial analysis. Journal of Experimental Criminology 9.3: 333–353.

    DOI: 10.1007/s11292-013-9177-0Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    By combing the IUCN conservation status and home range of parrot and non-parrot species, the authors examined the effect of poaching versus habitat loss as threats to parrot populations. The data sources are examples of publicly available information that can be used to study poaching indirectly.

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  • Critchlow, R., A. J. Plumptre, M. Driciru, et al. 2015. Spatiotemporal trends of illegal activities from ranger-collected data in a Ugandan national park. Conservation Biology 29.5: 1458–1470.

    DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12538Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Ranger-based data collection provides detailed spatial-temporal information about poaching at the micro-level, such as a national park. The authors used this data, and sophisticated methods, to model how illegal activities, not just poaching, are distributed. It is a good reference for what kind of information is collected by rangers.

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  • Gavin, Michael C., Jennifer N. Solomon, and Sara G. Blank. 2010. Measuring and monitoring illegal use of natural resources. Conservation Biology 24.1: 89–100.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1523-1739.2009.01387.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This extensive literature review summarizes various methods for quantifying illegal resource use, such as poaching. They identify eight approaches: law-enforcement records, indirect observation, self-reporting, direct observation, direct questioning, randomized response technique, forensics, and modeling. The strengths and weaknesses of each methods are discussed in detail.

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  • Global Forest Watch. 2014. World Resources Institute.

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    Remote sensing, gathering information without physically touching an object, is a useful way to collect data. This initiative uses satellite imagery to detect and monitor changes in forest cover. The data is useful for studies of deforestation and habitat loss.

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  • Petrossian, Gohar A., Stephen F. Pires, and Daan P. van Uhm. 2016. An overview of seized illegal wildlife entering the United States. Global Crime 17.2: 181–201.

    DOI: 10.1080/17440572.2016.1152548Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) logs illegal wildlife seizures in its Law Enforcement Management Information System (LEMIS). While not publicly available, LEMIS data can be accessed via a Freedom of Information Act request for suitable projects; it is useful for monitoring the flow of poached products.

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  • Underwood, Fiona M., Robert W. Burn, and Tom Milliken. 2013. Dissecting the illegal ivory trade: An analysis of ivory seizures data. PLoS One 8.10: e76539.

    DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0076539Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The Elephant Trade Information System (ETIS) is a worldwide database of ivory seizures mandated by CITES, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species. It is useful for tracking source, transit, and destination countries of shipments. The manuscript provides a good overview of the database as well as other sources of information useful for studying poaching and trafficking.

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  • Wasser, S. K., L. Brown, C. Mailand, et al. 2015. Genetic assignment of large seizures of elephant ivory reveals Africa’s major poaching hotspots. Science 349.6243: 84–87.

    DOI: 10.1126/science.aaa2457Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Ivory seizure data give information about quantities and transport routes, but do not indicate where poaching occurred. “Hotspots” of poaching can be identified using DNA analysis to determine the source of ivory within a 160-kilometer radius. Supplementary materials include detailed information about the transit routes of the large ivory shipments.

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Perceptions of Wildlife Law Enforcement Officers

Wildlife law enforcement officers are an excellent source of information about poaching problems. These men and women are tasked with detecting and deterring poaching activity and thus know a great deal about how poachers operate, what motivates them, and how anti-poaching operations could be improved. Moreover, speaking with officers helps elucidate what they like about their job, what causes occupational stress and how corruption influences conservation efforts. This avenue of research has not been used extensively but the references included here demonstrate the value of qualitative work with practitioners. For a North American context see Eliason 2006 about ranger job satisfaction, Eliason 2008 for a typology of poachers derived from officer interviews, and motivations for trophy poaching by Eliason 2012. This is complemented by Forsyth 1993 which uses interviews to describe the similarities of policing rural and urban areas in Louisiana and Forsyth and Forsyth 2009 which highlights how interactions with poachers differ from urban criminals. For similar work in an African context see the work on rangers’ occupational stress by Moreto 2015, the role of corruption in wildlife law enforcement by Moreto, et al. 2015, and the job satisfaction of rangers by Moreto, et al. 2016.

  • Eliason, Stephen L. 2006. Factors influencing job satisfaction among state conservation officers. Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management 29.1: 6–18.

    DOI: 10.1108/13639510610648458Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Interviews with conservation officers from Kentucky shed light on what they like most about working in protected areas. A good resource for understanding what stimulates officers in a North American setting.

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  • Eliason, Stephen L. 2008. Wildlife crime: Conservation officers’ perceptions of elusive poachers. Deviant Behavior 29.2: 111–128.

    DOI: 10.1080/01639620701457808Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Asking law enforcement officers to describe their interactions with poachers can be fruitful. Conservation officers in Kentucky help the author identify a typology of poachers in the region and discuss what makes them difficult to apprehend. The similarities and differences with poachers from Africa and Asia are of interest.

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  • Eliason, Stephen L. 2012. Trophy poaching: A routine activities perspective. Deviant Behavior 33.1: 72–87.

    DOI: 10.1080/01639625.2010.548289Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    What motivates poachers in Montana and creates opportunities for trophy poaching? These are the questions the author answers using in-depth interviews with conservation officers.

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  • Forsyth, Craig J. 1993. Chasing and catching “bad guys”: The game warden’s prey. Deviant Behavior 14.3: 209–226.

    DOI: 10.1080/01639625.1993.9967940Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The duties of urban police officers and game wardens in Louisiana are surprisingly similar. This comes out of in-depth interviews with the latter about their role as enforcement officers and the poachers they try to catch.

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  • Forsyth, Craig J., and York A. Forsyth. 2009. Dire and sequestered meetings: The work of game wardens. American Journal of Criminal Justice 34.3–4: 213–223.

    DOI: 10.1007/s12103-009-9065-3Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The work of a game warden can often be isolated and dangerous. Compared to urban officers, they are more likely to work alone and encounter people who are carrying weapons for hunting/protection. The author uses interviews with Louisiana game wardens to tell this story in their own words.

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  • Moreto, William D. 2015. Occupational stress among law enforcement rangers: Insights from Uganda. Oryx 1–9.

    DOI: 10.1017/S0030605315000356Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Law enforcement officers are often faced with high levels of occupational stress. This qualitative piece examines the different types of stress Ugandan rangers face related to their daily duties as well as additional internal and external factors associated with the job.

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  • Moreto, William D., Rod K. Brunson, and Anthony A. Braga. 2015. “Such misconducts don’t make a good ranger”: Examining law enforcement ranger wrongdoing in Uganda. British Journal of Criminology 55.2: 359–380.

    DOI: 10.1093/bjc/azu079Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Corruption is a major factor that enables poaching around the world. In this paper, rangers in Uganda explain the various ways corruption manifests in the work of wildlife law enforcement officers, and what facilitates its existence and persistence.

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  • Moreto, William D., Andrew M. Lemieux, and Matt R. Nobles. 2016. “It’s in my blood now”: The satisfaction of rangers working in Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda. Oryx 1–9.

    DOI: 10.1017/S0030605316000387Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Working as a wildlife ranger in Africa is not easy, but there are benefits. Uganda rangers explain why they like being a ranger and how it benefits them personally, financially, and helps supports their family.

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Offender-Based Research

Qualitative work with offenders offers an interesting way to learn about poachers’ behavior and their trading networks. Noss 1998 notes that participant observations with hunters are good for understanding their modus operandi and estimating levels of species removal. Interviews with offenders indicate many use classic neutralization techniques to rationalize their illegal activities, as shown by the work of Eliason 2004 in America, and Enticott 2011 in the United Kingdom. Information about the organization of trading networks can also be gleaned from qualitative work with those involved. Van Uhm and Siegel 2016 used this approach to learn more about the illegal trade in caviar, while Wong 2016 and Wyatt 2009 examined the illegal wildlife trade in China and Russia respectively In South Africa, Hübschle 2016 interviewed actors involved with different elements of the rhino horn trade to identify what drives and sustains the current poaching crisis. Taking a non-qualitative approach, Crow, et al. 2013 highlights the importance of using demographic information to study offender profiles as an alternative method for offender-based research.

Market Surveys and Product-Based Approaches

Markets and consumer demand for wildlife products make poaching valuable. Using a product-based approach is one way to estimate levels of poaching when data on the number of speciemens taken is not available. As Warchol, et al. 2003 shows, expert interviews are a good way to learn about wildlife markets and the products sold in them. Moving away from qualitative work, Courouble, et al. 2003 and TRAFFIC use market surveys to monitor the quantity and type of wildlife products sold. Product-based approaches are also useful for determining why certain species are targeted over others. Just like thieves, it can be argued that poachers select targets that are easy to sell or use. The CRAVED theft model, which helps identify “hot products,” has been used by Petrossian and Clarke 2013 to explain illegal fishing, and to explain parrot poaching in different countries by Pires and Clarke 2011 and Pires and Clarke 2012. CRAVED implies that products which are more concealable, removable, available, valuable, enjoyable, and disposable are more likely to be taken. Moreto and Lemieux 2015 provide an alternative model, CAPTURED—concealable, available, processable, transferrable, useable, removable, enjoyable, desirable—that is tailored to wildlife products.

  • Courouble, Marianne, Francis Hurst, and Tom Milliken. 2003. More ivory than elephants: Domestic ivory markets in three West African countries. Cambridge, UK: TRAFFIC International.

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    This investigation of ivory markets in Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal, and Nigeria is an excellent example of how much information can collected by market surveys. The methodology used enables international comparisons and the background information given about each country is extensive including local legislation governing markets and enforcement of these laws.

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  • Moreto, William D., and A. M. Lemieux. 2015. From CRAVED to CAPTURED: Introducing a product-based framework to examine illegal wildlife markets. European Journal on Criminal Policy and Research 21.3: 303–320.

    DOI: 10.1007/s10610-014-9268-0Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Understanding why some wildlife products are more valuable than others, and how this changes throughout the trade continuum is important. The authors suggest CAPTURED (concealable, available, processable, transferrable, useable, removable, enjoyable, desirable) is a useful acronym for disecting the life of wildlife products and their perceived value.

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  • Petrossian, Gohar A., and Ronald V. Clarke. 2013. Explaining and controlling illegal commercial fishing: An application of the CRAVED theft model. British Journal of Criminology 54.1: 73–90.

    DOI: 10.1093/bjc/azt061Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Are CRAVED fish more likely to be fished illegally? Using a case matched study of fifty-eight species of illegally caught fish, the authors explore this question. The data sources used to operationalize CRAVED are useful resources.

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  • Pires, Stephen F., and Ronald V. Clarke. 2011. Sequential foraging, itinerant fences and parrot poaching in Bolivia. British Journal of Criminology 51.2: 314–335.

    DOI: 10.1093/bjc/azq074Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Parrot poaching is common to supply the pet trade in South America. This study examines the characteristics of parrots sold in markets to determine how well the CRAVED model applies.

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  • Pires, Stephen, and Ronald V. Clarke. 2012. Are parrots CRAVED? An analysis of parrot poaching in Mexico. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency 49.1: 122–146.

    DOI: 10.1177/0022427810397950Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Are parrot poachers in Mexico opportunists? The study explores the opportunistic nature of parrot theft in Mexico using the CRAVED model and suggests an alternative way to understand the “available” component of the model.

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    TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network, is the premiere nongovernmental organization studying the illegal wildlife trade. Their website contains numerous publications about wildlife products and trade routes.

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  • Warchol, Greg L., Linda L. Zupan, and Willie Clack. 2003. Transnational criminality: An analysis of the illegal wildlife market in southern Africa. International Criminal Justice Review 13.1: 1–27.

    DOI: 10.1177/105756770301300101Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Through interviews with US law enforcement officers in the region, local wildlife law enforcement officials, and nongovernmental conservation organizations, the authors explore the magnitude of wildlife trade, species involved, and offender motivations. The methodology is an example of how to study markets qualitatively via expert interviews.

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Ranger-Based Data Collection and Law Enforcement Monitoring

Rangers on patrol are the backbone of conservation efforts around the world. Putting systems in place to help rangers collect data about their own movements, illegal activity, and wildlife populations is crucial for site security and management decisions. Over the years various systems have been developed to do this; the most widely used are SMART (Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool) and CyberTracker. Designing and implementing ranger-based data collection or law enforcement monitoring requires a great deal of forethought, training, and commitment. The references below highlight the implementation and analysis experiences of different organizations in various contexts. Stokes 2010 describes lessons learned in tiger conservation that shed light on potential roadblocks to implementation and sustainability, with useful information for establishing new programs. Gray and Kalpers 2005 reports similar findings in an African context, emphasizing the crucial role training plays in maintaining the use and utility of a ranger-based data collection system. Jachmann 2008 shows the value of low-tech solutions for monitoring rangers and illegal activity in a protected area, finding a large increase in patrol performance and subsequent decrease in poaching activity. Following a more methodological line of inquiry, Brashares and Sam 2005 explores how much effort is needed for these systems to produce reliable data.

  • Brashares, Justin S., and Moses K. Sam. 2005. How much is enough? Estimating the minimum sampling required for effective monitoring of African reserves. Biodiversity and Conservation 14.11: 2709–2722.

    DOI: 10.1007/s10531-005-8404-zSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Foot patrols are an excellent way to monitor wildlife and illegal activity, but they can’t be everywhere at once. This paper uses a large historical dataset to determine how frequently monitoring patrols should be used to get reliable estimates of wildlife populations and hunting activity.

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  • CyberTracker.

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    For law enforcement monitoring to work well, data collection should be easy. CyberTracker’s software enables conservation agencies to design custom, paperless models that use icons and local languages to facilitate monitoring. These can be uploaded to various devices, including smartphones, and can be connected to SMART.

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  • Gray, Maryke, and Josè Kalpers. 2005. Ranger based monitoring in the Virunga-Bwindi region of east-central Africa: A simple data collection tool for park management. Biodiversity and Conservation 14.11: 2723–2741.

    DOI: 10.1007/s10531-005-8406-xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Monitoring wildlife, illegal activity, and ranger performance is crucial for conservation managers. This piece offers insight into the design and implementation of a ranger-based monitoring system over a seven-year period with a special emphasis on the importance of training for sustainability.

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  • Jachmann, Hugo. 2008. Illegal wildlife use and protected area management in Ghana. Biological Conservation 141.7: 1906–1918.

    DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2008.05.009Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Monitoring what rangers do and see on patrol doesn’t require technology. Using standardized reporting forms, post-patrol debriefings, and gridded maps, it is possible to catalog a wealth of information about patrol performance and illegal activity.

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  • SMART.

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    Developed by a consortium of eight conservation organizations, SMART, the Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool, is meant to help standardize law enforcement monitoring efforts around the world. The software helps users create a data model for their protected area, makes querying the database simple, and has an automated reporting function.

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  • Stokes, E. J. 2010. Improving effectiveness of protection efforts in tiger source sites: Developing a framework for law enforcement monitoring using MIST. Integrative Zoology 5.4: 363–377.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1749-4877.2010.00223.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Designing and implementing law enforcement monitoring can be difficult. Convincing institutions the system is beneficial, developing sustainable training programs, and maintaining technology in remote/harsh conditions are some of the challenges. This overview of the process in eight tiger sites elaborates on the realities of setting up a data collection system.

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Spatial Analyses of Poaching

Knowing the spatial distribution of poaching, and understanding how it relates to features of the landscape, is important for developing interventions. Poaching locations are typically recorded by rangers on patrol using a GPS (global positioning system) unit; the non-systematic nature of patrols introduces a great deal of spatial bias into the data. In short, unpatrolled areas are seen as “poaching free” even if they are not and “hot spots” of poaching may simply be an indicator of high patrol effort. Thus spatial models need to consider the high levels of spatial autocorrelation in the data to avoid misinterpreting results. This is similar to modeling species distributions for which there are numerous approaches, as described by Dormann, et al. 2007 and Yoccoz, et al. 2001. Spatial autocorrelation may also be found in environmental variables, such as rainfall or slope, which can be dealt with using a bootstrapping procedure, see Chomitz and Gray 1996. Wato, et al. 2006 and Watson, et al. 2013 show how random, stratified sampling is one way to study the spatial dynamics of poaching systematically, as opposed to using patrol data. Camera trapping methods, like those used by Jenks, et al. 2012, mathematical modeling similar to the approaches used by Albers 2010, and combining various datasets, see Halpern, et al. 2008, are other methods for determining the spatial distribution of poaching.

  • Albers, H. J. 2010. Spatial modeling of extraction and enforcement in developing country protected areas. Resource and Energy Economics 32.2: 165–179.

    DOI: 10.1016/j.reseneeco.2009.11.011Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Presents a spatial “game” model that accounts for the various limitations villagers and protected area managers face in their efforts to harvest or secure resources respectively. A good theoretic piece for understanding what features a good spatial model of poaching should account for and how to think about enforcement strategy.

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  • Chomitz, K. M., and D. A. Gray. 1996. Roads, land use, and deforestation: A spatial model applied to Belize. The World Bank Economic Review 10.3: 487–512.

    DOI: 10.1093/wber/10.3.487Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Roads are an important consideration for deforestation as they increase access to remote areas. The relationship between road extension, alternative land use for farming, and connectivity to markets is explored spatially. The bootstrapping procedure used to account for autocorrelation in the environmental variable is useful for methodologists.

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  • Dormann, Carsten F., Jana M. McPherson, Miguel B. Araújo, et al. 2007. Methods to account for spatial autocorrelation in the analysis of species distributional data: A review. Ecography 30.5: 609–628.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.2007.0906-7590.05171.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A complete review of how to deal with spatial autocorrelation in spatially biased data. Although the focus is on species distributions, readers will see similarities with the bias found in ranger patrol data. An important methodological read for spatial analysts.

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  • Halpern, Benjamin S., Shaun Walbridge, Kimberly A. Selkoe, et al. 2008. A global map of human impact on marine ecosystems. Science 319.5865: 948–952.

    DOI: 10.1126/science.1149345Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Assessing human’s impact on marine environments is no easy task. The authors collated data from a variety of sources to create scores for each square kilometer of water. The data sources and findings are critical for understanding how to study the phenomenon and where help is needed most.

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  • Jenks, Kate E., JoGayle Howard, and Peter Leimgruber. 2012. Do ranger stations deter poaching activity in national parks in Thailand? Biotropica 44.6: 826–833.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1744-7429.2012.00869.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Camera-traps are an interesting way to collect spatial and temporal data about wildlife and poachers in protected areas. The method has limitations, but strengths include the ability to make unbiased observations, that is, photos of all movement, twenty-four hours a day. The study uses these data to study deterrence.

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  • Wato, Yussuf Adan, Geoffrey M. Wahungu, and Moses Makonjio Okello. 2006. Correlates of wildlife snaring patterns in Tsavo West National Park, Kenya. Biological Conservation 132.4: 500–509.

    DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2006.05.010Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    To better describe poaching distributions, the authors surveyed an unbiased, stratified sample of locations within the national park for snares and wildlife. The methodology presented helps overcome the inherent bias of patrol data and provides a better understanding of how poachers choose locations for snaring across the study area.

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  • Watson, Fred, Matthew S. Becker, Rachel McRobb, and Benson Kanyembo. 2013. Spatial patterns of wire-snare poaching: Implications for community conservation in buffer zones around national parks. Biological Conservation 168:1–9.

    DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2013.09.003Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    An alternative approach for selecting and surveying a random, stratified sample of sites for snaring. The study compares national parks to community-managed buffer zones managed to determine how well these areas help conservation efforts.

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  • Yoccoz, Nigel G., James D. Nichols, and Thierry Boulinier. 2001. Monitoring of biological diversity in space and time. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 16.8: 446–453.

    DOI: 10.1016/S0169-5347(01)02205-4Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Given the limits of monitoring and modeling poaching spatially, this piece contains valuable information about how to overcome constraints with different sampling designs, albeit for biological diversity. Moreover, it emphasizes the need to think carefully about the “how,” “what,” and “why” of data collection projects during the design phase.

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Law Enforcement Strategy

Data-driven law enforcement strategies are an excellent way to make use of information collected by patrol teams and researchers. In some cases, the data can help managers determine if protecting an endangered species is realistic and economically viable as shown by Johnson, et al. 2016. In others, spatially explicit models of poaching can be made useful for patrol planning and other management decisions such as outpost placement as shown by Haines, et al. 2012 and Plumptre, et al. 2014. Hossain, et al. 2016 shows how camera-trap technology can be used as a research and law enforcement tool simultaneously. Monitoring and evaluating the success of patrol regimes and interventions is of great importance to validate efforts and make changes if necessary. Linkie, et al. 2015 compares the effectiveness of regular patrols to those led by informant information to empirically show the value of intelligence-driven operations. Hötte, et al. 2016 uses a series of case studies to evaluate the effectiveness of law enforcement strategies in tiger conservation and show the value of setting evaluation criteria before an intervention is put into place to ensure it can be assessed. Beyond improving the effectiveness of anti-poaching enforcement, Keane, et al. 2008 makes a strong argument for understanding the role of compliance and integrating it with traditional operational strategies.

  • Haines, Aaron M., David Elledge, Lucas K. Wilsing, et al. 2012. Spatially explicit analysis of poaching activity as a conservation management tool. Wildlife Society Bulletin 36.4: 685–692.

    DOI: 10.1002/wsb.194Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Mapping and analyzing poaching reported to law enforcement agencies is one way to determine if there are times and locations more prone to poaching. By comparing known poaching events to random locations/times across the landscape, the paper suggests predictors that are useful for law enforcement strategy.

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  • Hossain, Abu Naser Mohsin, Adam Barlow, Christina Greenwood Barlow, Antony J. Lynam, Suprio Chakma, and Tommaso Savini. 2016. Assessing the efficacy of camera trapping as a tool for increasing detection rates of wildlife crime in tropical protected areas. Biological Conservation 201:314–319.

    DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2016.07.023Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Camera-trapping has long been used to monitor wildlife populations but is increasingly seen as a law enforcement tool. These authors show the utility of camera-traps for not only monitoring illegal activity, but for identifying individuals operating within the reserve.

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  • Hötte, Michiel H., Igor A. Kolodin, Sergei L. Bereznuk, et al. 2016. Indicators of success for smart law enforcement in protected areas: A case study for Russian Amur tiger (Panthera tigris altaica) reserves. Integrative Zoology 11.1: 2–15.

    DOI: 10.1111/1749-4877.12168Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The effectiveness of law enforcement interventions is rarely documented in conservation. Identifying key indicators a priori, collecting the relevant data to monitor these, and setting targets is crucial for filling this gap in the literature. The four case studies presented set a foundation for moving forward.

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  • Johnson, Arlyne, John Goodrich, Troy Hansel, et al. 2016. To protect or neglect? Design, monitoring, and evaluation of a law enforcement strategy to recover small populations of wild tigers and their prey. Biological Conservation 202:99–109.

    DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2016.08.018Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Protecting and recovering a small population of endangered wildlife, such as the tiger, can be extremely difficult and costly. The authors attempt to determine if it is always worthwhile. Using a case-study from Laos People’s Democratic Republic, the study shows the impact of increased enforcement funding on effort, prey species, and tigers.

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  • Keane, A., J. P. G. Jones, G. Edwards-Jones, and E. J. Milner-Gulland. 2008. The sleeping policeman: Understanding issues of enforcement and compliance in conservation. Animal Conservation 11.2: 75–82.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-1795.2008.00170.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Law enforcement is necessary where individuals fail to comply with the law for one reason or another; a common problem challenging conservation. The authors discuss the role of compliance in protecting species, and the role of park managers to foster it alongside enforcement efforts.

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  • Linkie, Matthew, Deborah J. Martyr, Abishek Harihar, et al. 2015. Editor’s choice: Safeguarding Sumatran tigers: Evaluating effectiveness of law enforcement patrols and local informant networks. Journal of Applied Ecology 52.4: 851–860.

    DOI: 10.1111/1365-2664.12461Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Information from community informants is often used to guide patrols into areas used by poachers. In this study, the efficiency of snare removal by regular patrols versus intelligence-led patrols is compared. The effect of law enforcement effort on the population of target species is also examined.

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  • Plumptre, Andrew J., Richard A. Fuller, Aggrey Rwetsiba, et al. 2014. Efficiently targeting resources to deter illegal activities in protected areas. Journal of Applied Ecology 51.3: 714–725.

    DOI: 10.1111/1365-2664.12227Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Knowing where to place patrols and which type of patrols to use, mobile or from a ranger post, is critical for conservation managers. This paper examines the costs and benefits of different patrol strategies and suggests methods for determining how to allocate resources more efficiently.

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Community-Based Alternatives to “Fortress Conservation”

Fortress conservation is a popular protection model that excludes local populations from parks to preserve wildlife; it is an entrenched, polarizing process that survives even as new media outlets give greater access to parks according to Büscher 2015. The model relies heavily on law enforcement to be effective, which has seen a process of what Lunstrum 2014 calls “green militarization” in recent years in response to the surge in elephant and rhino poaching. The ability of military tactics, weapons, and technology to achieve long-term conservation goals has come under scrutiny, for example by Duffy, et al. 2015, which criticizes the impact of this approach on communities. On the opposite side of fortress conservation, are community-based initiatives, which focus on giving local populations greater say over protected area management and revenues. Despite their popularity, and seemingly straightforward approach, designing and implementing a successful program is no easy task. For example, Agrawal and Gibson 1999 demonstrates the difficultly of defining what a “community” is and how that affects interventions. Berkes 2007 describes the complexity of meeting local and global conservation goals simultaneously suggesting the need for highly tailored interventions. Blaikie 2006 echoes these sentiments using examples from Malawi and Botswana. Finally, Child 1996 gives a detailed overview of the Communal Areas Management Programme for Indiginous Resources (CAMPFIRE), one of the most well-known efforts in Africa.

  • Agrawal, Arun, and Clark C. Gibson. 1999. Enchantment and disenchantment: The role of community in natural resource conservation. World Development 27.4: 629–649.

    DOI: 10.1016/S0305-750X(98)00161-2Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Community conservation is a widely used term and popular among those who think law enforcement is only part of the solution. But the term community is broad with many different meanings. Deconstructing the term as it applies to conservation, and critiquing community-based interventions, the authors identify ways to improve efforts.

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  • Berkes, Fikret. 2007. Community-based conservation in a globalized world. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science of the USA 104.39: 15188–15193.

    DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0702098104Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    In a globalized world, achieving conservation outcomes for the micro- and macro-levels is no easy task. What’s good for a community may not be good for an ecosystem, and vice versa. The author suggests a complexity approach, using lessons learned from commons research, must replace simplistic “blueprint” planning.

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  • Blaikie, Piers. 2006. Is small really beautiful? Community-based natural resource management in Malawi and Botswana. World Development 34.11: 1942–1957.

    DOI: 10.1016/j.worlddev.2005.11.023Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The popularity of community-based natural resource management is not necessarily backed up by evidence supporting positive outcomes. In light of this, the author uses examples from Botswana and Malawi to show how and why such programs can fail. Suggestions for program development and successful implementation are discussed.

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  • Büscher, Bram. 2015. Reassessing fortress conservation? New media and the politics of distinction in Kruger National Park. Annals of the American Association of Geographers 106.1: 114–129.

    DOI: 10.1080/00045608.2015.1095061Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Despite many criticisms, fortress conservation remains a popular strategy for wildlife protection. The practice of “securing” wildlife from local populations, leaving them with little or no access, enforced by policing, is common. The author explores how access to new media seems to only reinforce the polarizing effects of this practice.

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  • Child, Brian. 1996. The practice and principles of community-based wildlife management in Zimbabwe: The CAMPFIRE programme. Biodiversity and Conservation 5.3: 369–398.

    DOI: 10.1007/BF00051780Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Zimbabwe’s CAMPFIRE program is one of the most well-known community-based conservation efforts in Africa. The program’s history of development and implementation is outlined, as well as the underlying principles of CAMPFIRE. The paper shows the complexity of this process and how such interventions can be monitored and evaluated.

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  • Duffy, Rosaleen, Freya A. V. St John, Bram Büscher, and Dan Brockington. 2015. The militarization of anti-poaching: Undermining long term goals? Environmental Conservation 42.4: 345–348.

    DOI: 10.1017/S0376892915000119Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The recent surge in commercial poaching has been met with greater acceptance of a militaristic approach to anti-poaching operations. This commentary suggests the response may be counterproductive as it does not address the problem of consumer demand and creates animosity between rangers and communities. This can undermine conservation goals.

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  • Lunstrum, Elizabeth. 2014. Green militarization: Anti-poaching efforts and the spatial contours of Kruger National Park. Annals of the Association of American Geographers 104.4: 816–832.

    DOI: 10.1080/00045608.2014.912545Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Green militarization refers to the increasing use of military weapons, tactics, and technology in conservation. Using Kruger National Park as an example, the author describes how spatial and political contexts drive this process, concluding with a critique of its underlying assumptions and effectiveness.

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Poaching Prevention

Poaching prevention is the ultimate goal for conservationists and the best hope for sustaining ecosystems. This is likely to include traditional law enforcement practices to deter poaching as described by Hilborn, et al. 2006 and the creation of protected areas with limited use rights as shown by Nepstad, et al. 2006. More recently, criminologists have suggested using situational crime prevention techniques against wildlife crime as these have proven highly effective at reducing urban crime. Pires and Moreto 2011 gives a broad explanation of this, while Lemieux and Clarke 2009 and Petrossian 2015 apply the techniques to studies of elephant poaching and illegal fishing respectively. Along the same frame of reference, Schneider 2008 suggests reducing opportunities for wildlife trade using the market reduction approach.

  • Hilborn, Ray, Peter Arcese, Markus Borner, et al. 2006. Effective enforcement in a conservation area. Science 314.5803: 1266.

    DOI: 10.1126/science.1132780Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Can law enforcement protect wildlife populations from declines due to poaching? Fifty years of data from the Serengeti show how poaching efforts and buffalo populations respond to law enforcement effort (i.e., increased guardianship).

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  • Lemieux, Andrew M., and Ronald V. Clarke. 2009. The international ban on ivory sales and its effects on elephant poaching in Africa. British Journal of Criminology 49.4: 451–471.

    DOI: 10.1093/bjc/azp030Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Disrupting markets is one of the twenty-five techniques of situational crime prevention. It’s been shown to work at preventing urban crime, but does it apply to wildlife crime? Using the international ivory ban as an example of market disruption, the piece examines the effect on changes in African elephant populations.

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  • Nepstad, D., S. Schwartzman, B. Bamberger, et al. 2006. Inhibition of Amazon deforestation and fire by parks and indigenous lands. Conservation Biology 20.1: 65–73.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1523-1739.2006.00351.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A popular wildlife crime prevention strategy is to classify land as a protected area. There are different levels of protection whereby no resource use is permitted or regulated use is allowed. The authors explore how these differences affect deforestation in the Amazon.

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  • Petrossian, Gohar A. 2015. Preventing illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing: A situational approach. Biological Conservation 189:39–48.

    DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2014.09.005Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Illegal fishing, like other crimes, is the result of motivated offenders seizing criminal opportunities. By identifying the opportunity structures that support illegal fishing, the article is able to suggest situational crime prevention techniques that would reduce or remove them.

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  • Pires, Stephen F., and William D. Moreto. 2011. Preventing wildlife crimes: Solutions that can overcome the “tragedy of the commons.” European Journal on Criminal Policy and Research 17.2: 101–123.

    DOI: 10.1007/s10610-011-9141-3Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The twenty-five techniques of situational crime prevention are proven to be effective at combatting urban crime. Using case-studies, the authors highlight how these techniques have also been applied in a conservation setting to remove criminal opportunities. Most importantly, they emphasize the need to integrate crime prevention theory with conservation.

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  • Schneider, Jacqueline L. 2008. Reducing the illicit trade in endangered wildlife: The market reduction approach. Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice 24.3: 274–295.

    DOI: 10.1177/1043986208318226Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Making it more risky for criminals to sell stolen goods is one way to discourage theft; this is known as the market reduction approach. The paper provides a nice bridge between criminology and conservation and is useful for dissecting the wildlife trade into actors, places, products, motivations, and times.

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