Inside the War on Wildlife Crime

Collection with 47 media items created by Serene Yordi

27 Aug 2012 08:00

Wildlife trafficking in Africa has become a major source of finance for armed groups and criminal networks. In countries like Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Sudan and Kenya, poachers move across borders with near impunity.

Governments like Gabon are becoming increasingly alarmed by the threat posed by wildlife trafficking to national security. Rebel groups, drug syndicates and even terrorist networks have seen an opportunity to profit from a low risk, high reward criminal enterprise. To safeguard its remaining elephants, Gabon President Ali Bongo has quadrupled the number of park rangers in the country. Bongo also presided over the burning of $10 million of illegal Ivory seized from poachers, to ensure that none leaked back into the illegal trade.

On the other end of the trade, the final products are nearly unrecognizable. Jewelry and amulets made from ivory are sold in up-scale, air conditioned Thai boutiques whilst other animal parts are used in traditional medicines.

Wildlife crime not only threatens nature’s most iconic species, but exacerbates poverty and corruption, funding an entire spectrum of related international crime. These images trace the story from beginning to end, across continents, offering a sense of the fragility of the human lives that lie in its wake.

Wildlife Crime Illegal Africa Thailand Bangkok Gabon East Asia Illegal Trade Trade Animal Trade Protection Photo Essay Photo Collec... Featured Co...

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Wildlife Crimes (1 of 47)
Oua River, Gabon
By James Morgan
23 Jun 2012

Eco guards check a dug out canoe on the Oua river. Rivers are often used as quick ways to export poached Ivory and other bush meat out of the jungle.

James Morgan / WWF-CANON

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Wildlife Crimes (2 of 47)
Oua River, Gabon
By James Morgan
23 Jun 2012

Eco guards patrol the Oua river in North West Gabon. Rivers are often used as quick ways to export poached Ivory and other bush meat out of the jungle.

James Morgan / WWF-CANON

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Wildlife Crimes (3 of 47)
Gabon
By James Morgan
23 Jun 2012

In Mekobe village a man rolls the skin of a water cobra. The meat of the snake will be eaten and the skin preserved to hang on his wall. For generations rural Gabonese communities have survived sustainably from bushmeat. But poaching for commercial resale has created an unsustainable demand on large numbers of species.

James Morgan / WWF-CANON

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Wildlife Crimes (4 of 47)
Menkebe, Gabon
By James Morgan
23 Jun 2012

Despite being one of Africa's most resource rich countries, poverty is widespread in Gabon and a big contributor to poaching. This lady is from a Baka pygmy village near Menkebe. The Baka have been targeted by crime syndicates and recruited as poachers due to their intimate knowledge of the jungle.

James Morgan / WWF-CANON

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Wildlife Crimes (5 of 47)
Mekobe, Gabon
By James Morgan
23 Jun 2012

A baka pygmy family in Mekobe village, Gabon.

James Morgan / WWF-CANON

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Wildlife Crimes (6 of 47)
Minkebe, Gabon
By James Morgan
23 Jun 2012

A juvenile mandril monkey, it's mother was killed by poachers and it now lives in Minkebe village.

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Wildlife Crimes (7 of 47)
Minkebe, Gabon
By James Morgan
24 Jun 2012

Eco guards on patrol at night in a logging concession outside Minkebe national park. As longing concessions cut deeper into the forest they open the way both for illegal logging and poaching.

James Morgan / WWF-CANON

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Wildlife Crimes (8 of 47)
Minkebe, Gabon
By James Morgan
24 Jun 2012

Eco guards cook dinner on patrol in a logging concession outside Minkebe national park.

James Morgan / WWF-CANON

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Wildlife Crimes (9 of 47)
Menkebe, Gabon
By James Morgan
25 Jun 2012

A night hunter in a logging concession outside Menkebe national park. Night hunting is illegal in Gabon but it is still a common practice in rural areas.

James Morgan / WWF-CANON

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Wildlife Crimes (10 of 47)
Menkebe, Gabon
By James Morgan
25 Jun 2012

Central Africa is in the midst of an elephant poaching crisis. In order to combat the problem, the president of Gabon has recruited a whole new section of the army devoted to fighting back against wildlife crime. Here, Mba Ndong Marius holds seized Ivory tusks in front of a pile of confiscated weapons. Menkebe, Gabon.

James Morgan / WWF-CANON

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Wildlife Crimes (11 of 47)
Oyem, Gabon
By James Morgan
25 Jun 2012

Convicted poachers are interrogated at the jail in Oyem. The two men on the right have three year jail sentences for killing elephants in addition to other crimes.

James Morgan / WWF-CANON

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Wildlife Crimes (12 of 47)
Oyem, Gabon
By James Morgan
25 Jun 2012

Two convicted poachers are handcuffed after interrogation at the jail in Oyem, Gabon. Elephant poaching brings much needed income that, for some, outweighs the risk of a three year jail sentence.

James Morgan / WWF-CANON

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Wildlife Crimes (13 of 47)
Oyem, Gabon
By James Morgan
26 Jun 2012

Seized weapons used by poachers are audited at the justice tribunal in Oyem before being transported to Libreville to be burnt along with the confiscated ivory as part of Gabon's ceremonious Ivory burn.

James Morgan / WWF-CANON

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Wildlife Crimes (14 of 47)
Gabon
By James Morgan
27 Jun 2012

On 27th July, Gabon's president, Ali Bongo Ondimba, ordered the country's entire stockpile of Ivory, about 10 million dollars worth to be burnt, symbolising Gabon's antipoaching stance and determination to combat the illegal trade.

James Morgan / WWF-CANON

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Wildlife Crimes (15 of 47)
Gabon
By James Morgan
27 Jun 2012

An eco guard supervises the burning of Gabon's Ivory stock pile.

James Morgan / WWF-CANON

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Wildlife Crimes (16 of 47)
Libreville, Gabon
By James Morgan
27 Jun 2012

On 27th July, Gabon's president, Ali Bongo Ondimba, ordered the country's entire stockpile of Ivory, about 10 million dollars worth to be burnt, symbolising Gabon's antipoaching stance and determination to combat the illegal trade.

James Morgan / WWF-CANON

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Wildlife Crimes (17 of 47)
Libreville, Gabon
By James Morgan
27 Jun 2012

President Ali Bongo Ondimba in attendance at the Ovory burn. Here pictured speaking with the primeminister, Raymond Ndong Sima.

James Morgan / WWF-CANON

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Wildlife Crimes (18 of 47)
Gabon
By James Morgan
27 Jun 2012

Elephants roaming free on the lands of Gabon

James Morgan / WWF-CANON

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Wildlife Crimes (19 of 47)
Gabon
By James Morgan
27 Jun 2012

There are no final or totally verifiable figures for the numbers of elephants slaughtered for their ivory in 2012. However, reports from Cameroon, DR Congo, South Sudan and the Central African Republic suggest a massive and continuing rise in killings.

James Morgan / WWF-CANON

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Wildlife Crimes (20 of 47)
Gamba, Gabon
By James Morgan
30 Jun 2012

Auerlie Kombi and Tuburse Mouyamba take me to an elephant carcas they found outside Sounga village in Gamba district, Gabon.

James Morgan / WWF-CANON

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Wildlife Crimes (21 of 47)
Gamba, Gabon
By James Morgan
30 Jun 2012

Aurelie Kumbe and Tuburse Mouyamba take me to see an elephant carcass they found outside their village in the Gamba district of Gabon. The tusks are long gone, but bones as large as these are not easily buried.

James Morgan / WWF-CANON

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Wildlife Crimes (22 of 47)
Gabon
By James Morgan
01 Jul 2012

New research indicates that bees may help to keep elephants from encroaching on plantations. Inital studies are under way to assess its effectiveness.

James Morgan / WWF-CANON

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Wildlife Crimes (23 of 47)
Africa
By James Morgan
22 Oct 2012

Police Major General Narasak Hemnithi - Commander of Natural Resource and Environment Crime Suppression Division (NRESCD)

James Morgan / WWF-CANON

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Wildlife Crimes (24 of 47)
Kanchanaburi, Thailand
By James Morgan
23 Oct 2012

A tiger chained at Thailand's notorious 'tiger temple'. Originally tigers orphaned through poaching were taken into sanctuary at the 'temple'. Although now the temple faces allegations that it pursues illegal tactics to get more tigers and generates vast profits from tourism. Kanchanaburi province, Thailand.

James Morgan / WWF-CANON

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Wildlife Crimes (25 of 47)
Kuchanabri, Thailand
By James Morgan
23 Oct 2012

A worker at the Kuchanaburi tiger temple counts money.

James Morgan / WWF-CANON

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Wildlife Crimes (26 of 47)
Wat Pha Luang Ta Bua, Thailand
By James Morgan
23 Oct 2012

Since the start of the 20th century we have lost 95% of our wild tigers. There are now significantly more tigers in captivity than there are in the wild. This Indochinese tiger is in captivity at the Wat Pha Luang Ta Bua temple in Thailand.

James Morgan / WWF-CANON

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Wildlife Crimes (27 of 47)
Suvarnabhumi, Bangkok
By James Morgan
24 Oct 2012

Workers at the customs department in Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport open a box of seized Ivory.

James Morgan / WWF-CANON

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Wildlife Crimes (28 of 47)
Bangkok, Thailand
By James Morgan
24 Oct 2012

Security outside the cargo holding facilty at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport, Thailand.

James Morgan / WWF-CANON

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Wildlife Crimes (29 of 47)
Bangkok, Thailand
By James Morgan
24 Oct 2012

Customs officials in Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi airport uncover a shipment of African elephant tusks from Mozambique. Suvarnabhumi has always been a hub for illicit trafficking, mostly in narcotics, but the recent explosion of demand for animal products has added elephant tusks to the list of contraband.

James Morgan / WWF-CANON

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Wildlife Crimes (30 of 47)
Bangkok, Thailand
By James Morgan
24 Oct 2012

Customs officials in Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi airport uncover a shipment of African elephant tusks from Mozambique. Suvarnabhumi has always been a hub for illicit trafficking, mostly in narcotics, but the recent explosion of demand for animal products has added elephant tusks to the list of contraband.

James Morgan / WWF-CANON

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Wildlife Crimes (31 of 47)
Bangkok, Thailand
By James Morgan
25 Oct 2012

Sampan Suksee a park ranger prepares to leave on patrol.

James Morgan / WWF-CANON

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Wildlife Crimes (32 of 47)
Bangkok, Thailand
By James Morgan
26 Oct 2012

In light of the recent escalation in poaching the Thai government have assigned a unit of xxx to help tackle the poaching issue.

James Morgan / WWF-CANON

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Wildlife Crimes (33 of 47)
Bangkok, Thailand
By James Morgan
26 Oct 2012

In light of the recent escalation in poaching the Thai government have assigned a unit of xxx to help tackle the poaching issue.

James Morgan / WWF-CANON

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Wildlife Crimes (34 of 47)
Bangkok, Thailand
By James Morgan
26 Oct 2012

In light of the recent escalation in poaching the Thai government have assigned a special ops military unit to help tackle the poaching issue. This military outfit patrol the border between Thailand and Myanmar looking for tiger smugglers and other wildlife criminals.

James Morgan / WWF-CANON

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Wildlife Crimes (35 of 47)
Bangkok, Thailand
By James Morgan
27 Oct 2012

The head of the infantry unit on patrol in Kui Buri National park.

James Morgan / WWF-CANON

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Wildlife Crimes (36 of 47)
Bangkok, Thailand
By James Morgan
28 Oct 2012

An exorcist's knife for sale in Bangkok. The handle and sheath are made from Ivory.

James Morgan / WWF-CANON

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Wildlife Crimes (37 of 47)
Bangkok, Thailand
By James Morgan
28 Oct 2012

An amulet store owner inspects a statue of an ascetic monk made from Ivory. He will sell it for 35,000 baht (1,200 USD)

James Morgan / WWF-CANON

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Wildlife Crimes (38 of 47)
Bangkok, Thailand
By James Morgan
28 Oct 2012

Researchers at the Department of National Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation's biolab conduct DNA tests on confiscated Ivory in order to determine it source of origin and thus prosecute people found in possession of African Ivroy.

James Morgan / WWF-CANON

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Wildlife Crimes (39 of 47)
Bangkok, Thailand
By James Morgan
28 Oct 2012

Researchers at the Department of National Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation's biolab conduct DNA tests on confiscated Ivory in order to determine it source of origin and thus prosecute people found in possession of African Ivroy.

James Morgan / WWF-CANON

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Wildlife Crimes (40 of 47)
Bangkok, Thailand
By James Morgan
28 Oct 2012

Dr Suchitra Changtragoon, the lead researcher at the Department of National Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation's biolab is in charge of conducting DNA tests on confiscated ivory. African Ivory is illegal, wereas, confusingly, Asian Ivory is not.

James Morgan / WWF-CANON