The legal and illegal trafficking of wildlife is a large, and expanding global trade.1 Southeast Asia is a prominent source and consumer of wildlife, and also acts as a conduit for products originating outside the region and destined for other countries.3 Wildlife trade is driven by demand for staple and luxury foods, exotic pets, or for use in research and traditional medicine. Suppliers of the wildlife trade are numerous, spanning a broad range of social and economic sectors. Globalization and modernization has facilitated the expansion in wildlife trade in Southeast Asia in a number of ways such as road construction improving access to protected areas, better communication via cell phones and internet, and increasing social prosperity and availability of disposable income. These conditions have led to a wide scale depletion of wildlife resources with far-reaching conservation and economic consequences such as loss of biodiversity, depletion of natural resources for subsistence, reduction of opportunities for sustainable development3 and a link with other trans-boundary crime including human and arms trafficking1. Furthermore, wildlife trade presents a significant risk to public health.2 Hunting, butchering and sale of wildlife are high risk activities which increase the opportunity for amplification and/or exchange of potential pathogens at the human-wildlife-domestic animal interface. Demonstrating measurable economic costs that arise from health risks inherent in wildlife trade has the potential to increase political support for trade controls, and move society beyond the view of wildlife trade as an acceptable crime to an issue that matters on a national and international scale.
Correspondence should be directed to Dr. Joyner (email@example.com). Present address (Joyner): 1212 Townbrook Crossing, Charlottesville, VA, USA.
1. ICPO Interpol. Wildlife Smuggling Concealment Case Study Handbook. Environmental Crime Programme, ICPO Interpol, Lyon, France; 2010:1–46.
2. Pavlin BI, Schloegel LM, Daszak P. Risk of importing zoonotic diseases through wildlife trade, United States. Emerg Infect Dis. 2009;15:1721–1726.
3. TRAFFIC. What’s Driving the Wildlife Trade? A Review of Expert Opinion on Economic and Social Drivers of the Wildlife Trade and Trade Control Efforts in Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, and Vietnam. East Asia and Pacific Region Sustainable Development Discussion Papers. East Asia and Pacific Region Sustainable Development Department, World Bank, Washington, D.C.; 2008:1–103.