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Governments around the world should work with each other, non-profits, local residents, and the private sector to reduce poaching and wildlife crimes that are funneling an estimated $19 billion annually to terrorists and other criminals, according to a report from the Stimson Center, a Washington, DC-based think tank.
An increased role by defense and security organizations, defense contractors, and technology firms could also be particularly effective at combating the problem, according to the report, “Killing Animals, Buying Arms: Setting the Stage for Collaborative Solutions to Poaching + Wildlife Crime.”
The illegal wildlife trade is larger than the illicit trafficking of small arms, diamonds, gold, and oil, according to the report. Forty percent of the funding for various terrorist operations is also obtained through participation in the global wildlife trade, it states.
“Wildlife crime is no longer only a challenge to conservation, biodiversity and development. Poaching is – just as the illegal trade in arms, drugs and counterfeit goods – a serious threat to national and international security and economic development,” it states according to Government Security News.
The report also recommends more public-private partnerships that use cutting-edge technology to reduce wildlife crimes. Such technology could include sensors, radar equipment, and drones, and could come with better training for park and security officials. The report also proposes using advanced statistical methods and cutting-edge data analysis to map the global illicit animal trade.