Amid the shutdowns in both Asia and Africa due to the COVID-19 outbreak there’ve been serious disruptions to the illegal wildlife trade between the two continents. But even though it’s been harder to get African wildlife products to markets in China, Vietnam and elsewhere in Asia, the pace of killing has actually gone up by some estimates.
Park rangers who’ve been on the front lines battling against poachers have been forced to remain in the barracks due to the pandemic, providing organized crime syndicates with unfettered access to pangolins, rhinos and elephant populations among other animals.
James Compton, senior director for Asia-Pacific for the international wildlife conservation group TRAFFIC, closely follows the trade from Southeast Asia. He joins Eric & Cobus from Vietnam to discuss why the pandemic provides critical motivation for Asian governments to finally crackdown on illicit trafficking of both animals and animal parts.
- National Geographic: Poaching threats loom as wildlife safaris put on hold due to COVID-19 by Dina Fine Maron
- The New York Times: Poachers Kill More Rhinos as Coronavirus Halts Tourism to Africa by Annie Roth
- TRAFFIC: The shifting dynamics of illegal wildlife trade in Southeast Asia and China