While there is no recognized IWT offender profile, the literature identifies impoverished hunters and villagers, legitimate business owners, members of crime groups, general consumers, and corrupt officials as offenders (van Uhm 2016; Wyatt 2013). Coming from source countries (in our case, Brazil and Columbia), animals are likely to pass through many hands: 1) local opportunist hunters, and more recently, 2) organized crime hunting groups, 3) middlemen who visit locales encouraging locals to abduct/kill animals before moving them onto 4) traders who transport these animals either within the country or beyond its borders where 5) traders and business people receive and sell wildlife. Wildlife, as pets or products, are often sold to 6) local or 7) tourist consumers in marketplaces or at roadside stands, or processed for global trade, which can be facilitated through 8) corrupt officials.

At this point, wildlife is transported by 9) international business people, organized criminals, tourists, and 10) consumers (e.g. internet purchases delivered via mail services). Within destination countries, wildlife is traded by 11) legitimate business people and organized and 12) opportunistic criminals and/or purchased by 13) consumers and collectors (see Fig. 5.1).

The UK enforcement officers identified not only seasonal peaks and troughs in the IWT market, but also shifting demands dictated by fashion and health trends. Growth in the use of TCM products in the UK over the past decade, for example, has made exotic animal derivatives amongst the most trafficked and seized products. Likewise, recent developments in the health and beauty market have raised demand for caviar in skin creams and exotic animal derivatives as ingredients in fitness supplements. It is clear that these market fluctuations prompt different offender types; less clear is our understanding of whether the consumer creates the market or vice versa.[1]

  • [1] In fact, identifying how trends develop and how to subsequently reduce consumer demand is acrucial area for future research.
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