Poaching and Animal Trafficking


By Michael J. Lynch, University of South Florida, FL


Poaching is the illegal taking of wildlife in violation of the law. Poaching may involve any number of means of illegally killing animals, or taking them and other species from the wild alive. Any wild species (animal, plants, sea life, etc., ) may be poached when laws identify that behavior as illegal. Poaching is also likely to involve illegal trafficking in animals and other species, or animal parts.

Poaching is a concern related to harms to animals cause by trapping and hunting methods, and for animal and non-animal species with respect to the health of endangered and threatened species.

There are numerous anti-poaching specialty organizations throughout the world and these cannot be reviewed adequately here.

Important in the fight against poaching are recent advances in anti-poaching that have included the use of drones ( drones). Anti-poaching and trafficking organization may include governmental and non-governmental organizations. Some specific examples of anti-poaching organizations include:

The International Anti-Poaching Foundation : IAPF link
The Big Life Foundation: BLF Link
Stop Rhino Poaching: Rhino Link 1
Save the Rhino: Rhino Link 2
Protect Rhino ZN: Rhino Link 3
Rhino Revolution: Rhino Link 4
Elephant Action League: EAL Link
SOS Elephants: SOS Link
The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society: Sea Shephard
Conservation Justice: Justice
LAG Enforcement: LAG

Examples of anti-traffic organizations include:
Traffic: The Wildlife Trade Monitoring Network: Traffic

Coalition Against Wildlife Trafficking: CAWT

Conventional on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora: CITES

Indicating the extent to which the issue of poaching has taken on international significance, in July of 2013, President Barak Obama signed an Executive Order (13648) to enhance efforts to control wildlife trafficking and to contribute to efforts to control wildlife trafficking originating in Africa ( Order 13648). The Order established a Presidential Task Force on Wildlife trafficking charged with developing a US policy to combat wildlife trafficking (the National Strategy for Combatting Wildlife Trafficking) along with an Advisory Council on Wildlife Trafficking.

A number of green criminologists have contributed to the study of wildlife poaching and trafficking. A selection of these studies can be found in the reference section to this entry (updated February, 2014).

Further Reading


Clarke, Ronald V., and A. Rolf. 2013. “Poaching, habitat loss and the decline of neotropical parrots: a comparative spatial analysis.” Journal of Experimental Criminology 9, 3: 333-353.

Crow, Matthew S., Tara O’Connor Shelley, and Paul B. Stretesky.2013. “Camouflage-Collar Crime: An Examination of Wildlife Crime and Characteristics of Offenders in Florida.” Deviant Behavior 34,8: 635-652.

Eliason, Stephen L. 2013. “Policing the Poachers in the United States: A Qualitative Analysis of Game Wardens and Profiling.” International Journal of Criminal Justice Sciences 8, 2: 235-247.

Eliason, Stephen. 2012. “From the King’s deer to a capitalist commodity: A social historical analysis of the poaching law.” International Journal of Comparative and Applied Criminal Justice 36, 2: 133-148.

Eliason, Stephen L. 2008. Wildlife crime: conservation officers’ perceptions of elusive poachers.” Deviant Behavior 29, no. 2 (2008): 111-128.

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.

Ngoc, Anh Cao, and Tanya Wyatt. 2013. “A Green Criminological Exploration of Illegal Wildlife Trade in Vietnam.” Asian Journal of Criminology 8, 2: 129-142.

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.

Stretesky, Paul B., and Edmund F. McGarrell. 2012. “Wildlife crime and enforcement.” International Journal of Comparative and Applied Criminal Justice 36, 2: 81-82.

Wellsmith, Melanie. 2011. “Wildlife crime: The problems of enforcement.” European Journal on Criminal Policy and Research 17, 2: 125-148.

Wyatt, Tanya. 2014. “The Russian Far East’s illegal timber trade: an organized crime?.” Crime, Law and Social Change 61, 1: 15-35.

Wyatt, Tanya. 2013. Wildlife Trafficking: A Deconstruction of the Crime, the Victims and the Offenders. Palgrave-MacMillan.
Wyatt, Tanya. 2010. “The illegal trade of raptors in the Russian Federation.” Contemporary Justice Review 14, 2: 103-123.

Wyatt, Tanya. 2009. “Exploring the organization of Russia Far East’s illegal wildlife trade: two case studies of the illegal fur and illegal falcon trades.” Global Crime 10, 1-2: 144-154.

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