By Yury Fedotov, John E. Scanlon [Admin update: Another version of this is here.\
OOrganized [sic\ criminal networks are trafficking in endangered species, driving them to the brink of extinction. We need to act before it is too late.
In 2011, 25,000 wild elephants were illegally killed in Africa, primarily for their ivory.
Over the past few years, poachers killed the last wild rhinos in Mozambique and Vietnam. The world's population of tigers has dwindled to around 3,000 in the wild.
These are some of our most emblematic species, but wildlife crime is also robbing the natural heritage of people and states.
Wildlife crime ranks among trafficking in drugs, arms and human beings in terms of profits. It is an economic crime often perpetrated by criminal syndicates operating in the most remote regions of the world, exploiting people and lax laws or enforcement for gain.
The nature of wildlife crime has also changed.
Gunmen and flatbed trucks have been replaced by helicopters and automatic weapons. The animals in their sights have little chance in this gory pursuit for profits.
Behind the gun teams are sophisticated supply chains using modern technology, as well as bribes and corruption, to deliver animal parts to every corner of the earth. More....