If it was not already clear that wildlife poaching is a serious problem as evident by: data on the black market, the increasing number of poached rhinos, monitoring and analysis of elephant killings, the online uproar around the killing of Cecil the lion, and moremuch more – then the numerous interventions in operation or that are scheduled to enter the scene make it clear. Poaching. Is. A. Major. Concern.

(Made using ImageQuilts)

I have been collecting and mapping the different activities that are taking place around stopping wildlife poaching for the last several weeks. I am probably not nearly close to finding them all as it seems like every week I learn about at least one new plan aimed at combating poaching. There are probably three main nodes one can think of in terms of reducing poaching: supply, demand, and the logistical networks that connect the two. I have been exposed to a very rich and interesting world of suggested solutions and I am taking this as an opportunity to summarize and jot down what I currently know about some of the amazing work done in this field.

The following is in no particular order. Consider it a mix of how my notes are organized and my current erratic thoughts. I am also not getting into the pros and cons of each one, there are many on each side per each intervention. You can learn more about them in the links provided by they do not provide the full spectrum of support and criticism available – search each one online and you are likely to find a trove of both good and bad coverage.

Other related initiatives involve stronger regulation and enforcement, phasing out of ivory trading markets, destroying illegal ivory, a wildlife trade documentary with a Fast & Furious flavor, and launching a tech challenge to encourage the development of even more ideas and methods to defeat poachers. As I wrote at the beginning of this post, this is a very busy scene which just keeps getting busier. Hopefully it will be able to make a significant dent in the poaching rates as the numbers of several species bring them close to extinction.


What is the general equilibrium of all of these interventions? That is a great question. Give me 10 to 15 years and I might have a partial, hopefully empirical, somewhat convincing, undoubtedly flawed – answer.

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