Wildlife trafficking and organized crime: An interview with Dr. Rolf D. Baldus
15 June 2015

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At a conference on “Combating Wildlife Crime” organized by FACE and the Intergroup for Biodiversity, Hunting and Countryside at the European Parliament on May 12th 2015,  Dr. Rolf D. Baldus, CIC Presidential Advisor, presented his practical experience of 13 years working on wildlife management and anti-poaching efforts in Africa and the CIC’s policies on the subject.

He was later interviewed by EU-TV on the topic of wildlife trafficking and organized crime. Dr. Baldus was asked what capacities the EU has to combat this criminal activity. He called it the “million dollar question”, and it really is. He explained that wildlife crime, poaching in particular, has been turned into a multi-billion dollar “industry”, which is presently dominated by organized crime.  Demand has greatly risen in recent years.

Europe should financially assist the conservation efforts of the elephant and rhino range states. Cooperation with law-enforcement agencies along the whole trafficking chain, from producer to consumer, is essential. Though Europe can assist, the change must come from within the producer countries through strengthening law enforcement and empowering local communities. Local communities living side-by-side with the big game in Africa must enjoy material benefits from its sustainable use, otherwise they will collude with the poachers. Besides photographic tourism, sustainable hunting tourism is an important tool to generate revenue from wildlife and for this reason it is critical that the  EU does not further impede the import of legal hunting trophies into Europe.

Consumer countries contribute to the problem just as much as the producers and must also make radical changes in their governance. Dr. Baldus underlines several times the importance of the EU having “hard discussions” with the governments of the East Asian countries to take control of the situation and stop the illegal imports of rhino horn and ivory and the processing and sales.

The full interview appeared for a week on EU-TV and can now be seen on YouTube here:

The CIC stands ready to assist the EU within its global expert capacities in the continued battle against wildlife crime. While the EU can take a strong approach to fight these criminal activities from the governmental side, the CIC will continue to organize efforts on the ground with the global hunting community  and organizations committed to combat wildlife crime. See the CIC’s Milan Declaration for the detailed commitment efforts of the CIC.