Stefano Carvelli, the head of Interpol’s fugitive investigative support unit, said that the environmental crime wave has hit an all time high, reports have estimated the trade to be worth $70bn-$213bn annually. Since Ben Davies and myself started working on the subject of illegal animal trade 12 years ago, I always had a sense that the figures regarding the trade would decrease over time, I could have never been so wrong, the latest figure are simply mind blowing, any multinational company would give their left arm for $213 billion dollars annually turn over, to put it another way thats 213 thousand million dollars.
On Monday this week 17/11/2014 The Guardian newspaper released a story about Interpol launching the most-wanted list of environmental fugitives. Interpol actions are a step in the right direction, every step is needed to bring this evil trade to an end – the question I offer get asked is “how do can I help, I’m just one person”, one way is what Ben and myself did which was to bring the of illegal animal trade to the attention through education, the other; which is in my view is much more powerful tool, vote for people or governments that have rocks solid policy for protecting and policing the environment. It has to happen from the top down, the higher echelon of governments around the world need to make it their top priority, How do we achieve this, with the power of your vote, put pen to paper write to you local politicians, write to your congressmen. It’s not about the green movement, it’s not about the welfare for animals, which are also very important issues, in my view however to get your politician or congressman to listen we have to make it’s about the crime, a multi billion dollar global crime – which is the illegal animal trade.
Ben Davies and myself have worked on two book projects together over the last 12 years starting with Black Market: Inside the Endangered Species Trade in Asia in 2005 voted 5th and Trading to Extinction in 2014 voted 6th most important books on the environment by CNN.
To order a copy of Black Market click here
To order a copy of Trading to Extinction click here
At Scotland Yard’s animal protection unit, a police officer displays a tiger’s head seized during a raid in London.
Here is a breakdown of the figures:
Illegal logging and trade
30–100 billion – source UNEP/INTERPOL 2012 (10–30% of the global trade); OECD 2012
11–30 billion – Source OECD 2012; MRAG og UBC 2008 (12–32% of the global trade)
Illegal extraction and trade in minerals/ mining
12–48 billion – Source GFI 2011; GA 2012 (Estimated as only 1–4% by industry of the global trade)
Illegal trade and dumping of hazardous waste
10–12 billion – Source GFI 2011; GA 2012 (Estimated as only 1–4% by industry of the global trade) US 2000; GA 2012
Illegal trade and poaching of plants and wildlife
7–23 billion – Source Wyler and Sheik 2008; GFI 2011; OECD 2012
Sum environmental crime and loss from primarily developing countries
Minus 70–minus 213 billion
Official development assistance (ODA) (2013 estimate) Ca. 135 billion