I am thrilled to be welcoming Dr. Helen Agu from the University of Nigeria Nsukka to my lab for the next year! Dr. Agu is an Early Career Female Science Visiting Scholar with the MSU Alliance for African Partnership and the African Futures Research Leadership Program. We will be working on the topicof women in wildlife trafficking. Helen brings expertise in environmental laws, climate change impacts on human migration, gender and justice. She is one of three scientists from her university joining MSU for this academic year.

Illegal wildlife trade and wildlife trafficking create risks to species and societies in which they occur. These environmental risks have implications beyond species extinction and animal welfare, although those risks can be substantial. Wildlife trafficking is associated with corruption, money laundering, degradation of the rule of law, national insecurity, spread of zoonotic disease, undercutting sustainable development investments, erosion of cultural resources and convergence with other serious crimes. Although wildlife trafficking is occurring in at least 120 countries around the world, Africa is home to many high-profile species, protected areas, and people involved in the global criminal economy. (e.g., pangolin scales to Asia; African gray parrots to Europe; cheetah cubs to the Middle East; African vulture brains from Cameroon to South Africa). Studying wildlife trafficking in Africa is underscored by the cross-border and transboundary nature of the crime, diversity of wildlife populations, and community-based management regimes. Perhaps in part because wildlife trafficking can involve multiple serious aspects of criminality, violence, and violations of  the rule of law, it is increasingly emphasized by decision-makers and donors as being worthy of interdisciplinary and multi-sectoral investment—including by the scientific and foreign affairs  communities. Unfortunately, the gendered dimensions of wildlife trafficking are unknown. We lack insight about the gendered costs and benefits of participating in wildlife trafficking interventions along each link of the supply chain. We do not know if thinking about gendered participation in interventions is necessary or sufficient for success. We do not know if gender differences signal different priorities or incentives to participate in efforts to reduce wildlife trafficking-related risks. We also lack insight about the nuances of gendered participation in poaching, trafficking, and selling illegal wildlife products, either directly, in supporting roles, or as managers. Thus, policies, programs and projects designed to reduce risks associated with wildlife trafficking may fail to achieve outcomes, be monitored and evaluated using accurate metrics, and promote the voice of local scientists during science-policy discourse.

Stay tuned as Dr. Agu and I collaborate to build new policy-relevant knowledge about this important dimension of wildlife trafficking!

Dr. Julie Viollaz highlights some of her recent fieldwork and its implications for conservation criminology!

http:// https://msutoday.msu.edu/360/2018/julie-viollaz-conservation-and-collegiality/

# wildlifecrime #conservationcriminology #conservationoptimism @CARNatMSU @msuresearch @julie_viollaz @Global_Wildlife @WWF @WWF_WLCrime @MSU_SCJ @ FaunaFloraInt @MSUFWClub

 

 

Rachel Boratto, PhD student in @MSU_SCJ and I have published another report on the urban bushmeat supply chain in Republic of Congo as part of the broader @TheWCS project on the same topic supported by @USFWS and @USAID. #conservationcriminology and #conservationsocialscience helped add color to the bigger picture of the bushmeat supply chain’s physical and informational flows. @CANRatMSU @SCB_SSWG

The @SCBAsiaand King Mongkut’s University of Technology, Thonburi, Conservation Ecology Program are hosting me for a special lecture and panel discussion on March 9 in Bangkok, titled Illegal Logging, Wildlife Trafficking and Conservation Criminology: Current Issues and Future Directions. The talk will be at 2.00pm in Room X11.7 at King Mongkut’s University of Technology KX campus (The Knowledge Exchange, near Thonburi BTS station). RSVP to Dr. Tony Lynam (tlynam@wcs.org). Join me! #conservationcriminology,  #wildlifecrime, @SCB_SSWG, @CANRatMSU, @TheWCS

My first visit to Ethiopia was full of new experiences. In addition to visiting the University of Addis Ababa, African Union, Horn of Africa Regional Environmental Center, and United Nations Conference Center at the UN Economic Commission for Africa, I traveled to the Omo. The drive was amazing in the truest sense of the word. I’ve never seen such cultural diversity in my life. Didn’t see much wildlife, but I heard it at night—lions, elephants and leopards were super close to our camp because we were next to a water hole. Yeah, it was a busy week!

The long planned collaboration between my conservation criminology lab, Vinh University, Global Wildlife Conservation, World Wildlife Fund, Flora and Fauna International is getting off the ground! Dr. Julie Viollaz is leading the group from MSU, and was also recently named a GWC Associate. This project is going to be innovative on multiple levels and I’m so appreciative of Dr. Barney Long pulling us all together! I head to Vinh University for an extremely short but important trip; I’ll get to meet my collaborators in person (finally), introduce myself to the field research team, and hopefully conduct a site visit to one of our field sites.

I’m heading to King Mongkut’s University of Technology in Thonburi, Thailand to teach a conservation social science short course for local university students and conservation practitioners. With support from the Society for Conservation Biology‘s Asia Section and Social Science Working Group, this week long course is going to cover a range of quantitative, qualitative, and mixed method approaches. It will be exciting to collectively build our capacity to think about the science of human-wildlife conflict, protected area management, illegal wildlife trade and public participation. I’m scheduled to give a public talk on my lab’s East Asia-related conservation criminology research and do a short site visit to see otter conservation in action. Also, my dad has asked me to be on the lookout for a red Buddha souvenir, because the two green Buddhas I brought him home last year weren’t sufficient…

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