This issue of South African Crime Quarterly is a special issue dedicated to organised environmental crimes. It is guest edited by Annette Hübschle of the Environmental Futures Project, Institute for Safety Governance and Criminology at the University of Cape Town, and funded by the Global Initiative for Transnational Organised Crime.
Once considered peripheral matter, wildlife crimes have moved up global security and policy agendas. The UN General Assembly, for example, adopted two resolutions to tackle wildlife crimes in 2015 and 2016, while South Africa and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) have declared wildlife trafficking a priority crime issue. Nevertheless, a plethora of protective and regulatory measures has failed to disrupt the consumer markets and criminal networks that allow these trades to flourish. Several contributions to this issue suggest that for such measures to have an impact, they must be implemented and shared by a range of networked stakeholders. One contribution suggests that a ‘whole of society’ approach is best suited to the task, while others suggest there are lessons to be learned from the global response to Somlai piracy, and from INTERPOL’s National Environmental Security Taskforce (NEST) model.
An empirical contribution offers insight into the lives of anti-poaching community scouts working in southern Mozambique, adjacent to South Africa’s Kruger park. It describes the social stigma and exclusion that some scouts encounter in their communities and suggests that such programmes will only be effective when wildlife economies produce clear benefits for local communities.
Two commentary pieces challenge conventional thinking on wildlife crime. One argues that the crime-related loss of natural resources, such as rhino, should be considered a form of cultural victimization against people, while another argues that rangers should ‘shoot-to-kill’ poachers in protected parks. In the ‘On the Record’ feature, the head of the South African National Parks’ Special Projects (anti-poaching) team, Major General Johan Jooste (Ret.), reflects on the challenges of law-enforcement in South Africa’s Kruger National Park, including whether ‘shoot-to-kill’ has any merit.