Another inconvenient truth: the failure of enforcement systems to save charismatic species

Elizabeth L. Bennetta1 c1

a1 Wildlife Conservation Society, 2300 Southern Blvd. Bronx, New York 10460, USA.


In spite of significant recent advances in understanding how to conserve species we are failing to conserve some of the most beloved and charismatic, with severe population losses, shrinking ranges and extinctions of subspecies. The primary reason is hunting for illegal trade of highly valuable body parts, increasingly operated by sophisticated organized criminal syndicates supplying wealthy East Asian markets. Current enforcement systems were not established to tackle such crime, and weak governance, low capacity and inadequate resources facilitate the trade. To save these species this trade must be treated as serious crime, with allocation of sufficient resources, highly trained personnel, and appropriate technologies to allow it to be tackled effectively. Success in tackling this trade will necessitate commitment from governments and non-governmental organizations and the support of civil society.

(Received July 26 2010)

(Reviewed October 07 2010)

(Accepted December 09 2010)

(Online publication June 07 2011)


  • Charismatic;
  • enforcement;
  • illegal trade;
  • species