Ivory burning and cartels: Are anti-poaching efforts repeating the mistakes of the 'war on drugs'?

Jan 21, 2014

Illegal poaching, fuelled by the demand for alternative 'medicines' and luxury goods in Asian markets, continues unabated. In response unprecedented levels of funding are being invested in enforcement, while events such as China's public burning of confiscated ivory, serve to publicize the problem.

However, research in Conservation Letters asks if these measures are repeating the mistakes of the 'War on Drugs' as they lack a long-term strategy to tackle the growing between African areas of supply and Asian centers of demand, which remains a central dynamic to the problem.

The authors also show how trading bans can drive up the price of poached goods, which in turn encourages the involvement of organized criminals who operate like .

"Much of the current narrative on responses to poaching and in wildlife is centered on increasing enforcement efforts and anti-poaching measures. We argue that this approach risks making the same mistake as the 'war on drugs', because it doesn't address the real drivers of poaching. For example, increasing demand in East Asia and growing relative poverty nationally and internationally," said Daniel Challender from the University of Kent. "To conserve species' we need to build capacity to do so within local communities and consider supply-based approaches and demand reduction programs based on further research."

Explore further: Satellites, mathematics and drones take down poachers in Africa

More information: Daniel W. S. Challender, Douglas C. MacMillan, Poaching is more than an enforcement problem, Conservation Letters, DOI: 10.1111/conl.12082

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Enforcement and anti-poaching measures set to fail

Jan 13, 2014

In a paper published in Conservation Letters, researchers from the University of Kent's Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology (DICE) argue that despite record levels of funding being invested in enforcement and an ...

Recommended for you

Satellites, mathematics and drones take down poachers in Africa

2 minutes ago

In 2014, 1,215 rhinos were killed in South Africa for their horns, which end up in Asia as supposed cures for a variety of ailments. An estimated 30,000 African elephants were slaughtered last year for their tusks to be turned into trinkets. The world loses three rhinos a day and an elepha ...

Study on insect aggression and neurochemistry

2 hours ago

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Professor and Chair of Biology John Swallow and his lab groups are applying information about neurotransmitters to illustrate the power of using insect models to study aggression. Swallow ...

Shark populations suffer from undue reputation

2 hours ago

Sharks have been making news yet again, after a spate of sightings in Newcastle, New South Wales, prompted days of beach closures and reports of oceangoers allegedly being "stalked" by "monster" specimens. ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.