Greg L. Warchol


On his book Exploiting the Wilderness: An Analysis of Wildlife Crime

Cover Interview of March 05, 2018

A close-up

I would hope that readers browsing the book would find the section on offenders and the section on solutions. Two highlights are the description of their motivations and methods, and the chart that offers a profile of offender type by species. One common view is that most poaching is done by subsistence hunters seeking food or money for survival. While that is a small part of it, much of the illegal wildlife trade is driven by greed and organized crime. Furthermore, military and paramilitary groups including some terrorist organizations have also been active in elephant poaching in southern and central Africa. I described this in detail in the chapter.

Another highlight of the book is the final chapter. Here, solutions to the illegal trade in wildlife are described and analyzed. These include methods to reduce the supply of illegal wildlife and the consumer demand in end user nations. The programs that I reviewed include some of the earlier efforts such as WINDFALL and CAMPFIRE in Zimbabwe, CARNIVORE in Zambia and the public ivory destructions in Kenya. More recent policies such as the Chinese and US prohibitions on ivory sales and ownership are covered in the chapter. Also described is the UK’s Buckingham Palace Declaration that is a public-private partnership between government and shipping companies to prevent wildlife smuggling. Elephant tusk of questionable origin offered for sale to the author in Mozambique

Finally, I examined the hot topic of hunting-as-conservation or conservation-by-the-gun in this chapter. Public attention to this practice developed out of the so-called Cecil the Lion incident in Zimbabwe a couple years ago. In this case, the Zimbabwean government accused an American hunter and his South African guide of illegally killing a lion during a legal hunt. This led to a hotly debated discussion on trophy hunting. Proponents of trophy hunting argue that it is necessary since the revenue that results is used for conservation. Others contend that it is barbaric and just results in the best examples of a species being killed for a trophy. Even President Trump quickly reversed his recent decision to allow African elephant trophies to be imported into the U.S., citing the cruelty of the practice.