The potential link between the illegal wildlife trade and the spread of COVID-19 has focused attention once again on the trafficking and exploitation of wild animals, as well as plants. Exotic animals can often bring incredible prices in illicit markets, and according to the UN, wildlife crime has become a “significant and specialised” form of transnational crime in its own right.

Australian lawyer John Scanlon has been one of the leading global voices against this trade, and currently holds three major positions with campaigning organisations: CEO of the Elephant Protection Initiative (EPI) Foundation, Chair of the Global Alliance to End Wildlife Crime, and Chair of the UK Government’s Illegal Wildlife Trade Challenge Fund. He has also served as the Secretary-General of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) for nearly a decade between 2010-2018.

There are few campaigners as intimately aware of the realities of the illegal wildlife trade, and in this session, John will share his experiences of the fight, as well as his perspectives on how to go about tackling this pernicious problem more effectively. Looking to a dedicated and coordinated global effort, tougher regulation and enforcement, he argues that the illegal wildlife trade is “not a poor man’s crime”, and that governments need to focus on following dirty money in exactly the same way as with other major forms of serious organised criminality.

In conversation with John E Scanlon AO, Chair, Global Initiative to End Wildlife Crime

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