The morning of 17 July 2012 saw the CPLO hosting a roundtable discussion entitled Tackling
Wildlife Crimes. Wildlife crimes are often tied to the wildlife trade, organised crime syndicates
that fuel poaching, and indifferent governments which provide insufficient legislation and law enforcement. The wildlife trade can be defined as the sale and exchange by people of wild animal
and plant resources – buying, selling, bartering, exchanging, importing, exporting, re‐exporting.
Trade ranges from live animals for the food and pet markets, curios, and medicinal plants to
ornamental plants, timber and commercial fish species. Birds, elephant ivory, woodcarvings,
rhino horn, abalone, cycads, shark‐fins, hunting trophies, shells, mahogany, and turtle shells are
all regularly traded species. The roundtable, which was addressed by Markus Burgener, a
senior programme officer at TRAFFIC, focused on ivory and rhino‐horn poaching, which has
resulted in scores of elephants and rhinoceroses being exterminated, as well as the poaching of
various forms of marine life. This briefing paper will focus on what are perhaps the two most
high‐profile targets of poachers – abalone and rhino horn.
Report by Palesa Siphuma
Researcher at Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference Parliamentary Liaison Office (CPLO)