Chapter 7: The uncharismatic and unorganized side to wildlife smuggling
This chapter introduces the complexities of the illegal global trade in fauna and flora (wildlife smuggling). In doing so, it moves beyond a focus on the black markets related to so-called ‘charismatic megafauna’ (elephants for ivory, rhino horns and Asian big cats) to examine other wildlife which are overlooked yet in terms of being trafficked are equally prolific, profitable and harmed. The global pet trade by collectors, traditional medicines and bushmeat fuelled by culture, and the fashion industry driven by mass consumption are the diverse legal markets that spur the demand for rare species of fauna and flora and its related black market smuggling. In particular, this chapter draws on research on Australia and New Zealand (pet trade), Vietnam (traditional medicines), the United Kingdom (bushmeat) and Russia Far East (fur and the fashion industry). It investigates key issues in the contemporary literature on wildlife smuggling, including the extent to which the nature of the commodity being traded has an impact on the nature of black markets and criminal networks, the extent to which wildlife smuggling involves (or does not involve) crime groups and their part in other forms of illegal activity, and the role that industrialized countries play in the illegal wildlife trade (as an antidote to the current focus on developing countries).
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