What Sustains Wildlife Crime? Rhino Horn Trading and the Resilience of Criminal Networks

Author/s (editor/s):

Julie Ayling

Publication year:


Publication type:

Working paper

Find this publication at:
TEC Working Paper 2/2012

Julie Ayling, ‘What Sustains Wildlife Crime? Rhino Horn Trading and the Resilience of Criminal Networks’, TEC Working Paper 2/2012, Canberra: Transnational Environmental Crime Project, Department of International Relations, Australian National University, October 2012.

The problem of illegal trading in wildlife is a long-standing one. Humans have always regarded other sentient and non-sentient species as resources and tradeable commodities, frequently resulting in negative effects for biodiversity. However, the illegal trade in wildlife is increasingly meeting with resistance from states and the international community in the form of law enforcement and regulatory initiatives. So why does it persist? What makes the criminal networks involved in it resilient? In this paper we consider the networks involved in the illegal trade in rhinoceros horn that is currently posing an existential threat to most rhino species. The paper considers possible sources of these networks’ resilience, both internal and external, and the implications for how the trade could be tackled.

About the author

Julie Ayling is a co-Chief Investigator on the TEC Project and a Research Fellow in the Regulatory Institutions Network at the Australian National University where she is currently based in the ARC Centre of Excellence in Policing and Security (CEPS). Her research interests include policing, criminal organisations (gangs, organised crime and terrorist groups) and state legislative and policy responses.

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