This module is a resource for lecturers




This Module introduces students to the causes and characteristics of trafficking in wildlife, forest and fisheries products, the demand and supply that fuel this trade, and the various activities that define it, ranging from poaching to consumption. The purpose of this Module is to outline the causes, characteristics, and criminology of wildlife, forest and fisheries crime (and to complement, and prepare students for, the Modules on international frameworks and criminal justice responses to these crimes. Module 1 provides a general understanding of the patterns and dimensions of this crime type, the difficulties of separating legal and illegal trade, and, through specific exercises and examples, teaches students about some of the animal species and countries most affected by the illegal trade.

Regional perspective: Pacific Islands

Many Pacific Islands are rich in natural marine and terrestrial resources, but often lack capacity to protect them. Rising local demand, the impacts of climate change and growing export markets have placed considerable strain on natural resources that are unique to, or common across, the Pacific Islands. The available research documents an extensive illicit trade in endangered species from the Pacific Islands, with Pacific States allegedly being both source and transit points for goods to supply such markets. Furthermore, the demand for coral and aquarium fish in the Americas, Asia, and Europe has reportedly been supplied by source countries in the Pacific. (UNODC, 2016)


Learning outcomes

  • Recognize the causes and implications of trafficking in wildlife, forest and fisheries
  • Identify some of the animal and plant species, regions and countries most affected by trafficking
  • Understand the activities and circumstances that define the trafficking and that delineate illegal from legal activities
  • Identify the characteristics of trafficking in wildlife and the patterns and operation of illicit markets for wildlife and wildlife/timber/fisheries products and derivatives
  • Understand the available data on trafficking in wildlife, animal parts, and plants and the gaps in open-source statistics
  • Identify, locate, and critically engage with relevant material relating to the criminology of wildlife trafficking
Next: Key issues
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