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Illegal Wildlife Trafficking: Attacking on All Fronts


Venue:  Adina Hotel,Sydney CBD (short walk from Central Station)

Date:  Tuesday 13th June 2017

Registration now open!

Draft program

Shingleback skink, Currawinya National Park. Taking photos is fine.  Taking the lizard isn’t! Photo Araucaria Ecotours

Illegal wildlife trafficking is seriously threatening fauna species around the world.  Poaching of elephants, rhinos and tigers for their tusks, horns and other body parts has received much recent publicity, but lesser-known animals such as pangolins, various reptiles and others are also under severe threat. Australian cockatoos and other parrots, pythons, and  lizards such as frill-necks, shinglebacks and thorny devils can fetch high prices which tempt black-marketers to smuggle them overseas.

Wildlife tourism can both assist in the fight agains illegal trafficking (responsible tourists and tour operators keeping a watchful eye for suspicious activities, and spreading the word about not buying souvenirs involving parts of native animals) but also hinder it (irresponsible or less-informed tourists buying souvenirs that include illegal wildlife parts, traffickers posing as tourists to get subsequent secretive access to animals, or simply a promotion of places where particular species are easily found).

Illegal wildlife trafficking is a major conservation problem, often involving wealthy business people (not necessarily those actually doing the collecting) with ‘friends in high places,’ and thus can be very challenging crime which needs to be tackled from various angles. These include wide public education, heavy penalties for traffickers who are caught, investigation of crime rings, vigilance by rangers and others in wildlife-rich areas, increase of powers of rangers (where safe) to apprehend those they suspect of poaching, and detection by customs of wildlife or their body parts not only as they enter a country but also as they prepare to leave. Bio-analysis of body parts (especially nucleic acids and proteins) and keratinous materials (i.e. fur, feathers) for elemental profiling, can be utilised to detect where items have come from (e.g. showing that a tiger bone said to have come legitimately from a tiger that died of natural causes at a zoo in fact came from the wild in a remote forest) and further research to perfect these techniques could prove extremely valuable. Sniffer dogs that are extensively used in tracking endangered species and weeds in the wild, and also drugs and illegal plant and food carriage in airports, could very useful be employed in detecting fauna not only entering the country, but in the luggage or passenger clothing (e.g. stitched into coat linings) before traffickers board an international flight.

Elephant in Kruger National Park. Even in supposedly safe havens such as this there is a constant fight against poachers.  Photo: Araucaria Ecotours

This one-day workshop hopes to bring together academic researchers working on detection by biochemical analysis and other means, trainers of sniffer dogs, airline staff, biosecurity officers, tourism operators and conservation managers (and anyone else with an interest, and perhaps some innovative ideas) to develop guidelines on how best to combat the illicit trade in Australia and elsewhere.


Please advise Ronda if you are interested in:

  • attending (no obligation, but we will add your name to an email list for updates)
  • sponsoring a keynote speaker
  • sponsoring the workshop generally (this will allow us to lower the costs of registrations) 
  • presenting a poster paper (some vey limited opportunity for another oral paper or two if you contact us ASAP)

Venue and recommended accommodation:

Adina Apartment Hotel Central, next to Central Station (near George Street and Pitt Street)

Please phone the Hotel and mention the workshop when booking your accommodation for a workshop discount 

2 Lee Street, Sydney NSW 2000
[email protected]
ph 02 8396 9800



Many thanks to our sponsors (please follow link below for details):


  • Bio-Rad is sponsoring our morning tea
  • Ionicon is sponsoring our afternoon tea
  • Dreamworld is providing travel and accommodation for presenter Al Mucci
  • Adina Hotel is waiving the room hire fee and offering a discount for delegate accommodation

Please see details of our sponsors by clicking here


Some background reading: