Planet Earth

Why Illegal Wildlife Trade Thrives

Collide-a-ScapeBy Keith KloorDec 31, 2010 12:26 AM

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Another wild tale from the illegal wildlife trade, this one about a Malaysian smuggler that

offers a window on the illegal wildlife trade and our broken system to combat it. Underfunded law enforcement, government corruption, controversy-shy NGOs, and a feeble international legal framework have yielded few inroads against wildlife syndicates or kingpins like Anson Wong.

At the end of this piece, the larger issue driving the illegal wildlife black market is acknowledged:

Wildlife smugglers, like any other breed of trafficker, obey the laws of supply and demand: As long as there is a market for rare and endangered animals, someone will find out how to get them there.

Let me elaborate: as long as there are cultures that value animal bile and body parts for supposed medicinal purposes, the illegal wildlife racket will thrive. It's not as sexy as a story of a notorious smuggler brought to justice, but it's a story that should be explored.

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