New and Changing Geographies of Wildlife Crime I: Questioning Narratives of Wildlife “Crime”

Type: Paper
Theme:
Sponsor Groups: Cultural and Political Ecology Specialty Group, Political Geography Specialty Group, Legal Geography Specialty Group
Poster #:
Day: 4/11/2018
Start / End Time: 10:00 AM / 11:40 AM
Room: Studio 10, Marriott, 2nd Floor
Organizers: Francis Masse, Jared Margulies
Chairs: Francis Masse

Description

Organizers: Francis Massé (Dept. of Geography, York University), Jared Margulies (Department
of Politics, University of Sheffield)
Discussant: Rebecca Witter (Appalachia State University)

From extralegal rhino and elephant hunting, to illegal timber harvesting, to illegal, unregulated,
and underreported fishing (IUU), and the sourcing and trade of birds and reptiles, wildlife crime
and the responses to it are gaining increasing scholarly and policy attention. The International
Consortium on Combating Wildlife Crime (ICCWC) defines wildlife as “all fauna and flora”
(CITES, 2017). It defines crime as “acts committed contrary to national laws and regulations
intended to protect natural resources and to administer their management and use” (Ibid). At the
same time, wildlife crime is also transnational in scope, as the transport and sale of illicitly
harvested or otherwise protected species of fauna and flora make up the growing illegal wildlife
trade (IWT), a multi-billion dollar a year industry (UNDP, 2015).

Studying wildlife crime and the responses to it thus requires multiscalar research including the
spaces and sites of extraction, transit, and consumption of wildlife, to the connections and flows
in-between that span the local to the global. This includes spaces of conservation, the open seas,
surrounding communities, ports of entry and exit, global meetings, and (il)legal sites of purchase
and consumption both online and offline (Hansen et al., 2012; Hübschle, 2016a, 2016b; White,
2016). Efforts to combat wildlife crime similarly take us from local areas of sourcing, such as
protected areas (Lemieux, 2014; Lunstrum, 2014), to international forums and regional policing
agreements (White, 2016), and demand-reduction campaigns (TRAFFIC, 2017). Such efforts
involve communities (Massé et al., 2017; Roe et al., 2015) and increasingly more-thanconservation
actors, both state and non-state (Nurse, 2013). Put simply, wildlife crime and the
ways in which it is responded to are not relegated to a certain scale or political-ecological space.

Moreover, while much of the above might reflect or embody familiar geographical, politicalecological,
and socio-ecological dynamics, we are also seeing new and changing dynamics and
spatialities concerning wildlife crime and efforts to combat it (Büscher, Forthcoming). These
dynamics are shaped by a variety of factors including the very labelling of the illicit harvesting
of wildlife as “crime” and those who engage with harvesting as “criminals.” Wildlife crime is
also increasingly framed as a crisis, “war”, or a security issue connected to organized crime and
terrorism that enfold wildlife crime in geopolitical dynamics that are shaping responses to it and
where such responses take place (Büscher, Forthcoming; Duffy, 2014, 2016; Marijnen, 2017).

The result is that wildlife crime, responses to wildlife crime, and the studying of each is taking
place in new spaces and at new scales prompting an engagement with what might be termed
more-than-conservation spaces, actors, and interests. It is these changing geographies and related
political-/socio-ecological dynamics that this session is primarily interested in. Drawing on the
above, there are three key areas of focus for this session:
1. The spaces (and places) of wildlife crime and responses to it;
2. The ways in which the political-ecological and socio-ecological dynamics of wildlife crime
intersect with the geopolitical and political-geographic;
3. How these changes might influence or necessitate new approaches to studying wildlife crime.

Of particular interest are presentations that bring light to novel developments and/or changes to
each with a view to why such changes are occurring and what the implications might be.
Specific topics might include, but are not limited to:
• The changing spatialities and geographies of wildlife crime and the responses to it.
• Legal geographies related to the illicit harvesting of wildlife and the production of
“crime” and “criminals.”
• New understandings and problematizations of what might be considered “wildlife crime”
and wildlife law enforcement.
• The multi-scalar nature of wildlife crime and the connections between local and global
ecologies and political-dynamics.
• Shifting and new geopolitics and political-geographies of wildlife crime and responses.
• The intersection of wildlife crime and related enforcement measures with other sectors
and geopolitical, political-geographical, and political-ecological dynamics.
• Theoretical and conceptual approaches to studying wildlife crime.
• Innovative ways to study wildlife crime and responses to it.


Agenda

Type Details Minutes Start Time
Presenter Kristof Titeca*, University of Antwerp, Illegal ivory trade as organized crime? Insights from a DRC-Uganda trade route 20 10:00 AM
Presenter Harold Perkins*, Ohio University, Bucket biology and the mackinaw in Yellowstone: contradictory criminalities of nonnative fish 20 10:20 AM
Presenter Esther Marijnen*, University of Sheffield, Commodity networks as ‘geographies of public authority’ in conflict areas: illegal fishing and bushmeat trade in Eastern DR Congo 20 10:40 AM
Presenter Timothy Hodgetts*, University of Oxford, Civil disobedience and the geographies of wildlife ‘crime’ 20 11:00 AM
Discussant Rebecca Witter Appalachian State University 20 11:20 AM

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