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Are parrots CRAVED? An analysis of parrot poaching in Mexico


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Poaching significantly contributes to the endangerment of protected wildlife but has rarely been studied by criminologists. This study examines whether CRAVED, a general model of theft choices drawn from routine activity and rational choice theory, can help to explain parrot poaching. It correlates estimates of the numbers poached for the 22 species of Mexican parrots with measures of CRAVED components (concealable, removable, available, valuable, enjoyable, and disposable). Widely available species and those whose chicks are easily removable from the nest are more commonly poached, a pattern suggesting that most poachers are opportunistic villagers. More valuable/disposable and more enjoyable species are rarely taken because few remain in the wild after being heavily poached for export in the 1980s. Apart from helping to explain parrot poaching and consider conservation options, the application of CRAVED suggested a possible contribution to understanding theft choices. This was that “abundant” and “accessible” might replace “available.”
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Journal of Research in Crime
The online version of this article can be found at:
DOI: 10.1177/0022427810397950
online 15 March 2011
2012 49: 122 originally publishedJournal of Research in Crime and Delinquency
Stephen Pires and Ronald V. Clarke
Are Parrots CRAVED? An Analysis of Parrot Poaching in Mexico
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Are Parrots
An Analysis of
Parrot Poaching in
Stephen Pires
and Ronald V. Clarke
Poaching significantly contributes to the endangerment of protected wildlife
but has rarely been studied by criminologists. This study examines whether
CRAVED, a general model of theft choices drawn from routine activity and
rational choice theory, can help to explain parrot poaching. It correlates
estimates of the numbers poached for the 22 species of Mexican parrots
with measures of CRAVED components (concealable, removable, available,
valuable, enjoyable, and disposable). Widely available species and those
whose chicks are easily removable from the nest are more commonly
poached, a pattern suggesting that most poachers are opportunistic villagers.
More valuable/disposable and more enjoyable species are rarely taken
because few remain in the wild after being heavily poached for export in the
1980s. Apart from helping to explain parrot poaching and consider conser-
vation options, the application of CRAVED suggested a possible contribution
to understanding theft choices. This was that ‘‘abundant’’ and ‘‘accessible’’
might replace ‘‘available.’’
School of Criminal Justice, Rutgers University, Newark, NJ, USA
Corresponding Author:
Ronald V. Clarke, School of Criminal Justice, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, 123
Washington St, Newark, NJ 07102, USA
Journal of Research in Crime and
49(1) 122-146
ªThe Author(s) 2012
Reprints and permission:
DOI: 10.1177/0022427810397950
prevention, crime, rational choice theory, criminological theory, routine
activity theory, wildlife crimes, GIS
When they study theft, criminologists tend to focus their attention on
thieves not on the targets of theft. Just as an earlier focus on offenders even-
tually gave way to research on victims, scholars are beginning to consider
theft preferences. Many of these scholars are working with ‘‘opportunity’
theories, such as the routine activity approach (Cohen and Felson 1979), the
rational choice perspective (Cornish and Clarke 1986), and crime pattern
theory (Brantingham and Brantingham 1993). In seeking to explain the
occurrence of crime, these theories pay close attention to situational factors,
including target characteristics. However, each theory deals with target
choice somewhat differently. For example, the rational choice perspective
emphasizes the ‘‘choice structuring properties’’ of different crimes (Cornish
and Clarke 1987), which for theft would include the risks and difficulties of
the act in question and its rewards provided by the stolen object. Crime
pattern theory focuses on targets for theft encountered by offenders in their
‘activity nodes’’ or when moving among these places. Both these formula-
tions perform useful orienting functions in explaining theft choices, but they
provide only general guidance as to which particular objects are likely to be
stolen in which contexts. More specific is the acronym VIVA that summarizes
the attributes of ‘‘suitable targets’for predatory crime, which Cohen and
Felson (1979) provided in their original formulation of routine activity
theory. VIVA refers to the target’s value, inertia (how easily moved),
visibility (how obvious and abundant), and accessibility.
In order to emphasize the physical, tangible properties of suitable targets,
Cohen and Felson made no distinction between the inanimate targets of
acquisitive property crime and the human victims of sexual or violent
crimes. This left room for a more detailed formulation of the attributes of
suitable theft targets. This was subsequently provided by Clarke (1999)
who, working from the rational choice perspective, argued that what is
stolen depends not just on target characteristics but on a variety of other
factors including the kind of theft, the specific motives of the thieves, and
the resources available to them. Thus, unlike shoplifters who must take small
and easily concealed items, burglars rarely take disposable razors. Instead
they can take larger and more valuable items, and which they choose
depends, for example, on whether they steal for their own use or to sell.
Pires and Clarke 123
Acquiring insight into these matters is essential to understanding their lives
and their craft. Clarke proposed that the ‘‘hot products’’ sought by thieves are
concealable, removable, available, valuable, enjoyable and disposable, or
CRAVED, and he showed that CRAVED helped to explain theft preferences
for some common forms of theft, including shoplifting, residential burglary,
and auto theft.
Subsequently, others have shown that CRAVED provides a useful
starting point for explaining the targets of cell phone theft (Whitehead
et al. 2008), patterns of timber theft in the Appalachians (Baker 2003), bag
theft in licensed premises (Smith, Bowers, and Johnson 2006); suspected
stolen goods in pawn shops (Fass and Francis 2004); and changing patterns
of domestic burglary (Wellsmith and Burrell 2005). This versatility
suggested that CRAVED might help explain target choices for the form
of theft analyzed in the present paper—poaching of Mexican parrots, which
are now protected by an array of laws and international conventions that
forbid them from being killed or from being taken from the wild.
If CRAVED did prove useful in explaining parrot poaching, it would
gain credence as a generally useful way to think about theft preferences.
It might also prove useful in understanding other forms of wildlife crime
that to date have been little studied by criminologists including: illegal
logging, overfishing, elephant and rhino poaching in Africa, theft of protected
cacti in North America, tiger and leopard poaching in Asia, and poaching of
sturgeon in the Caspian Sea. Focused criminological attention on these topics
could complement thework of biologists and conservationists inprotecting our
planet, as argued by the proponents of‘green’’ criminology (Beirne and South
2007; Oldfield 2003;Lemieux and Clarke 2009; Schneider2008; White 2008),
or ‘‘conservation criminology’’, as it mightbetter be known (Gibbset al. 2009).
In fact, parrots as a group can clearly be regarded as ‘‘hot products.’’ Their
beautiful plumage, endearing behavior, ability to mimic human speech, and
their longevity (Wright et al. 2001) make them among the most desired of pet
birds and, as documented below, among the most poached species of birds.
But not every parrot is equally endowed with these attributes. For example,
some parrots are drably colored and they are not all equally long lived.
In addition, some parrots are much rarer than others, which makes them
attractive to collectors and therefore to poachers who can charge high prices
for these birds.
Guided by CRAVED, this study explores whether this variation in the
attributes of parrots can help to explain the variation in rates of poaching
among the 22 Mexican species. It uses available estimates of the number
of each species poached (from Cantu et al. 2007) and some specially
124 Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency 49(1)
developed measures of CRAVED variables. Apart from helping to explain
which species are most stolen and why, the results of the analysis were
expected to provide insight into the nature of the parrot trade and whether
it is organized, as sometimes claimed, or whether it is more opportunistic as
suggested by the literature on poaching of many other endangered species.
If it is organized, the most targeted parrots should be the rarer and thus more
valuable birds; if it is more opportunistic, the most poached birds should be
the more widely available species in terms of abundance and accessibility
and the more easily removable in terms of ease of capture.
A better understanding of the illegal trade in parrots might considerably
assist thinking about prevention because, consistent with the crime-specific
premises of situational crime prevention (Clarke 1980), the measures
needed for dealing with opportunistic poaching are likely to be different
from those for organized poaching. The present study has two broad objec-
tives: (1) to investigate the broader applicability of CRAVED and implicitly
to draw attention to the need for further work on the nature of ‘‘suitable
targets’’ and (2) to make a contribution to conservation criminology by
providing information to assist thinking about the prevention of parrot
Applying CRAVED
While CRAVED is intended to assist understanding of all theft preferences,
Clarke (1999) recognized that the relevance of each of its components
would vary with the nature and circumstances of the offense. For example,
as mentioned, concealable is of prime importance to shoplifters, while
valuable is likely to be of greater importance to professional burglars.
The varying relevance of the CRAVED elements means that any single
application of CRAVED, such as described in the present paper, cannot
constitute a definitive test of its validity. Only an accumulation of the results
of applying CRAVED to a range of different theft offenses, involving differ-
ent targets in different contexts, could allow a judgment to be made about its
validity and the relative importance of its separate dimensions.
A second point is that the elements of CRAVED are themselves
multidimensional. Thus, Clarke (1999) noted that available covers both the
abundance of theft targets and their accessibility to thieves. For example,
cash is abundant in modern society but is generally closely guarded by its
owners and thus not readily accessible to thieves. A third, but related point
is that each element of CRAVED can be measured in a variety of ways that
might have greater or lesser relevance to the kind of theft in question.
Pires and Clarke 125
For example, removable might seem to be of little help in explaining why
some cars are at greater risk of theft than others
since all cars have wheels
and are intended to be mobile. However, in-built electronic immobilizers
will make some cars less removable and thus more difficult to steal. This
means that in addition to its size and weight, and whether it has wheels,
an object’s security can be a component of removable and might sometimes
need to be measured.
These points show how measures of CRAVED must be carefully tailored
to the nature and the contexts of thefts (Ekblom and Sidebottom 2008).
Even in the case of wildlife poaching, the CRAVED variables that are
important, and the ways to operationalize them, will vary with the species.
Thus, it might be relatively simple to conceal a consignment of poached
ivory in a sealed crate, but this wouldbe impossible for live parrots, especially
if dispatched on a long sea journey. In complex crimes involving several
sequential stages, such as exporting poached parrots, the same CRAVED
element could vary in its effect and importance at each stage. Thus in theory,
some birdsmight be readily removable from their nests,but they might be more
likely to die when moved in confined boxes from the village to market. For all
these reasons, it was recognized that in this exploratory study, it would be nec-
essary to experiment with different measures of each CRAVED variable.
Before discussing the measures employed in this study, more details are given
below about the parrot trade in Mexico.
The Parrot Trade in Mexico
Parrots have been kept as pets in neotropical countries dating back at least to
the Aztec empire. Taking parrots from the wild only began to arouse
concern when it became an organized business in the 1980s with thousands
of birds being captured and exported overseas. During this period, the
United States imported 50,000 to 150,000 neotropical parrots each year, a
large proportion of which came from Mexico (Thomsen in James 1992,
cited in Cantu et al. 2007).
Partly as a result of this trade, many parrot species became threatened
with extinction (Howell and Webb 1995; Juniper and Parr 1998) and,
according to CITES,
parrots are now the most threatened birds worldwide
(Juniper and Parr 1998; Wright et al. 2001). All but 2 of the 22 species in
Mexico are at risk of extinction due to habitat loss, the illegal parrot trade,
and nest destruction and poaching.
In order to reduce imports of wild birds
to the United States and thus diminish the risks of extinction, the U.S.
Congress passed the Wild Bird Conservation Act (WBCA) in 1992.
126 Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency 49(1)
This immediately stemmed the flow ofparrots to the United States (Armstrong
et al. 2001; Beissinger 2001, cited in Pain et al. 2006).
Mexico reinforced these international actions with its own laws prohibiting
the taking of parrots from the wild, though licensed trappers were still
permitted to net small quotas of species deemed not at risk.
Despite these
prohibitions, and despite the sharp reduction in the international trade,
Cantu et al. (2007) reported that at the time of their study 65,000 to
78,500 parrots continued to be poached annually in Mexico, an
estimated 86-96 percent of which were sold domestically. These numbers
may not be surprising, because so many parrots are kept as pets. Figures
for Mexico are not available, but in nearby Costa Rica, for example,
24 percent of households keep a pet parrot (Drews, 2002 cited in Weston and
Memon 2009). Furthermore, wild parrots cost relatively little—according to
Cantu et al. (2007), most birds sold on the street go for the equivalent of
about U.S. $5.
While Cantu et al. (2007) recognize that both ‘‘professional’’ trappers
and ‘‘opportunistic’’ villagers are involved in the capture of parrots, their
report portrays professional trappers (who also trap other species of birds
and animals) as being mostly responsible for the problem. However, one
of the authors of the report has separately estimated that there may be
as many as 20,000 opportunistic parrot poachers in Mexico (Groselet in
Velazquez 2004 cited in Cantu et al. 2007), which is more than 25 times the
number of unionized trappers and street salesmen in the country (Semarnat
2005c, cited in Cantu et al. 2007). Contrary to Cantu et al. (2007), this
suggests that opportunistic poachers may be responsible for capturing many
if not most of the parrots. This was the view of some biologists/conservation
scientists we consulted in the course of this research, who stated that
‘professional’’ trappers obtained most of their parrots from locals who take
nestlings in the breeding season (e-mail communications: Wiedenfeld
August 27, 2009; Gilardi August 19, 2009; Hennessey October 22, 2009).
This would be much more efficient for the trappers than to capture the
parrots for themselves.
Villagers know which birds breed nearby because parrots often return to
the same nesting site each year (Enkerlin-Hoeflich 1995, cited in Wright
et al. 2001), and they need no special equipment to take the nestlings other
than a rope and a machete.
Apart from selling the nestlings to professional
trappers, they might sell them to neighbors, at the roadside or in street
markets. While the sums yielded might be small, these usefully supplement
income in a country where two thirds of the population makes less than
$400 a month (Cantu et al. 2007).
Pires and Clarke 127
In sum, the evidence is not entirely clear but it suggeststhat (1) most parrots
are poached by opportunistic villagers, (2) the birds they take from the wild are
often collected by professional trappers, who in turn dispose of them at illegal
pet markets in the cities; and (3) many of the rarer birds might still be sold
overseas, but the international trade, requiring higher levels of organization,
is a small fraction of its previous volume. Our study is focused on the first
of these propositions and investigates whether the most commonly poached
species are those that are most likely to be taken by opportunistic poachers.
The unit of analysis in this study is the species of Mexican parrots, of which
there are 22. The study examines whether the variation among the species in
the numbers of birds poached can be explained by CRAVED. It correlates
an available estimate of the annual number of each species poached
(the dependent variable) with specially developed measures of CRAVED
(the independent variables), using secondary data from Internet sources
or scientific articles and reports. Some of these variables are simple whereas
others depend on complex manipulation of GIS data.
In the light of the evidence summarized above that most parrots are taken
from the wild by opportunistic poachers, it was anticipated that the birds
taken should be the more widely available species in terms of abundance
and accessibility and the more easily removable in terms of ease of capture.
The least taken species should be the rarer, more valuable birds that
require considerably more professional expertise and resources to capture.
Estimates of the Numbers Poached
The dependent variable is the ‘‘estimated annual captured count’’ for the
22 Mexican parrots published in ‘‘The Illegal Parrot Trade in Mexico’
(Cantu et al. 2007), a report prepared by a team of conservationist and
biologists, which was jointly published by Teyeliz, a Mexican conservation
organization, and the Washington-based Defenders of Wildlife. Poaching
estimates were acquired through interviews with three groups with special
knowledge of the problem: 22 parrot trappers, 43 inspectors of the environ-
mental police (Profepa), and 3 leaders of the two largest unions of trappers.
Their estimates were shown by the authors to be broadly consistent with
other estimates of the overall numbers of parrots in the illegal trade.
The ‘‘estimated annual captured counts’’ are listed in the first column of
the Appendix. These counts show very marked variations among species.
128 Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency 49(1)
Some parrots are taken in their thousands, while three of the parrots—Socorro
Parakeet, Maroon Fronted Parrot, and Brown Hooded Parrot—seem not to be
taken at all because of their rarity, inaccessible habitats, and remote locations.
It is apparent that parrot poaching in Mexico fits the 80-20 rule of crime
concentration (Clarke and Eck 2005). The six most poached species, or
27 percent, account for 88 percent of all parrots poached, that is, more than
56,000 birds.
Some important limitations of these estimates should be noted here.
First, the estimates are in round numbers and are the same for many of the
birds. Second, the interview schedules used for the trappers and for the
police were informal and lacked precision. Third, the samples of trappers
and police interviewed were of unknown representativeness, although it
is reported that trappers in only half of the Mexican states were surveyed
(those with the greatest variety and numbers of parrots). The estimates were
then extrapolated with unknown reliability to the entire country. The greatest
source of potential error, however, is that no ‘‘opportunist’’ village poachers
were interviewed, which is principally why the authors describe their
estimates as conservative.
Measures of CRAVED
As explained above, it was important to use measures of CRAVED that
were relevant to parrot poaching. Many such measures were explored, but
the detailed information needed for them was frequently unavailable from
reliable Internet sources or the scientific literature. In fact, no suitable
measure could be developed for concealable. Isolated reports were found
indicating that one or two species of parrots were particularly noisy and
difficult to sedate or were more likely to die when hidden in boxes with their
beaks taped, but for most species, this kind of information was not avail-
able. It is also very difficult to disguise birds, in the way that smugglers
sometimes paint ivory to resemble wood, to make them less recognizable
to the authorities. The attempt to operationalize concealable was therefore
For the other elements of CRAVED, numerous measures with some face
validity were identified. To have included all of them would have led to a
bewildering number of results and it was decided that, whenever possible,
just one measure for each component of CRAVED would be used.
That selected should have (1) the clearest theoretical rationale for inclusion
from among all those identified; (2) few missing values; and (3) a range of
scores large enough to differentiate clearly among the sample of parrots.
Pires and Clarke 129
When these conditions could not be met, composite variables were created
from among those with convincing theoretical justifications. Before combin-
ing them, they were converted into binary values, so that a particular parrot
obtained a score of 0 or 1 for each variable. This was done to avoid the problem
of combining variables recorded in different metrics (e.g., nominal, ordinal,
and ratio). These binary scores were then summed for each parrot for the
CRAVED element in question.
More detail about the measurement of the CRAVED elements is presented
below, beginning with available and removable, which as explained, were the
variables expected to correlate positively with numbers of parrots poached.
Available. Measures of both aspects of availability—abundance and
accessibility—were developed.
For accessibility, measures of each bird’s preferred habitat and range
within Mexico were rejected in favor of a more direct measure of accessi-
ble: the overlap of each parrot species with human populations. The first
step in constructing this measure was to obtain the geographic range of each
the 22 species using their ‘‘shapefiles’’ on the Website for Socioeconomic
Data and Application Center (SEDAC) at Columbia University.
These were then superimposed onto a GIS map and clipped exclusively
to Mexico.
Measuring human density, the second step, required the
‘shapefile’’ of Mexico, with its 32 states and 1,854 municipalities to be
The 2000 census population figures for each municipality were
and population densities for each municipality were calculated
by dividing the population by the size of each municipality. In the third and
final step, the sum of human population density was calculated for each
parrot’s range. Therefore, species such as the Yellow-Headed Parrot should
be poached more because it has the highest aggregate of humans within its
range (see Appendix). Figure 1 shows the result of this process for the
Yellow-Headed Parrot (to make it easier to see the distribution of human
population is shown for the 32 states in Mexico, not the 1,854 municipalities).
No counts have been made of the numbers of wild parrots in Mexico,
except for one or two species that have been the focus of scientific study.
This meant that a surrogate measure of abundance had to be found and that
selected was the number of years between 1979 and 2005 that the Mexican
authorities permitted each species to be trapped. Trapping decisions
are based on judgments about the numbers of each species that can be
‘captured sustainably’’ (Cantu et al. (2007:28), an indication of their abun-
dance. For example, it can be assumed that, because the Orange Fronted
Parakeet was legally trapped for 23 out of 26 years (see Appendix), it has
130 Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency 49(1)
a larger population than the endangered Thick Billed Parrot, which was
never permitted to be trapped in 26 years.
‘Years trapped’’ allowed a much wider range of scores than twoalternative
measures of abundance that were not used: the parrot’s endangered status in
Mexico, and a bird-watching guide’s ratings of how ‘‘common’’ the birds are
in Mexico (Howell and Webb 1995), which both used scales of 1-4.
Removable. Nesting type will dictate the methods used by parrot
poachers. A few species nest in cliff crevices or in ground or arboreal
termitariums, but most species nest high in tree cavities (Cockle et al.
2007; Rodriguez Castillo and Eberhard 2006).
Cliff nests are generally the most difficult to access because the cliffs can
be high and dangerous to climb. For tree cavity nests, poachers must usually
climb the tree, perhaps using ropes and primitive ladders (Vaughan,
Nemeth, and Marineros 2003). They might enlarge the cavities with a
machete in order to reach the nestlings, or they might cut down the tree,
which risks killing the nestlings. Ground termitariums (i.e., termite
mounds) or arboreal termitariums are the easiest nesting sites to exploit.
Arboreal termitariums are generally closer to the ground than tree cavities
and will be easier to reach (e-mail communication, Wiedenfeld March 4, 2009).
Figure 1. Range of the yellow-headed parrot and human population density in the
states of Mexico.
Pires and Clarke 131
For those on the ground, used for example by the Orange Fronted Parakeet,
poachers can simply reach into the nest holes and remove the nestlings, though
they might have to bring along children whose small hands can do this more
Removable was therefore coded as follows (from the most to the least
difficult): (1) cliff crevices (two species); (2) tree cavity and/or palm stump
(thirteen species); (3) termitariums and tree cavities (five species); and
(4) exclusively in termite mounds (two species).
Valuable and disposable. These elements proved difficult to operationalize.
Any parrot that has been poached can be sold, but the relationship between
value and disposability is not straightforward. Rare parrots will attract higher
prices (exceptionally high if the birds are sold overseas) and consequently
fewer buyers. In fact, the five highest priced birds on the Mexican market—
ranging from about $140 for the Mealy Parrot to $550 for the Scarlet
Macaw—are uncommon in the wild and represent only about 6 percent of all
parrots poached on an annual basis (Cantu et al. 2007).
The difficulties precluded development of separate measures of value and
disposability and a single composite measure was used for both. It combined
the average price found in the Mexican market (Cantu et al. 2007) with the
worldwide threat status for each species as determined by the International
Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN, 2008) using the following classi-
fications: (1) endangered; (2) vulnerable; (3) near threatened; and (4) least
concern. The rationale for combining these variables was that the rarer the
species, the higher the value to collectors and others in the bird trade.
Before combining the variables, they were each converted into binary
measures. The IUCN categories of 1 and 2 were coded as 1 (very rare) and
the categories of 3 and 4 were coded as 0 (not rare). For price, the birds were
divided into high priced (1) and low priced (0). Prices were not available for
five rare birds, which would rarely be offered for sale. When offered, the
prices would likely to be high and this is how they were coded for this study.
Enjoyable. Products that are more enjoyable to own are at greater risk of
theft. While it would generally be assumed that this would be true of parrots
as well, the most ‘‘enjoyable’’ parrots are also among the rarest and thus
probably among the least poached species.
It proved impossible to develop measures of intelligence, endearing
behavior, and ability to mimic human speech and, after much consideration,
two variables were combined to measure enjoyable—the size and beauty of
the bird. Larger parrots are preferred as pets and the length of each species
132 Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency 49(1)
was recorded in centimeters and then dichotomized to combine with beauty.
Beauty was a composite variable that took account of (1) the proportion of
the bird that was brightly colored and (2) the number of different plumage
colors. Each of the variables was a binary measure, and the combined
‘beauty’’ score therefore ranged between 0 and 2. Thus, the Scarlet Macaw
obtained a high score of 2 because it is brightly colored overall with six
different plumage colors. Beauty scores were dichotomized before combining
with length.
The values assigned to the 22 species of parrots for the measures of
CRAVED used in the study are shown in the Appendix.
The small sample and the skewed data required that the measure of poaching
and of the CRAVED measures be treated as ordinal-rank variables.
A non-parametric statistical method (Kendall’s Tau-b) was therefore
used to calculate the correlations in Table 1 between the CRAVED
components and poaching for the 22 Mexican parrot species.
Table 1 shows that the measures of available (both abundance and
accessible) and removable are positively related to poaching, whereas
value/disposable and enjoyable were negatively related (though not
statistically significant for enjoyable). This pattern of results was largely
expected and provides further evidence that parrot poaching in Mexico is
a predominantly opportunistic crime—the most widely available species
and those captured most easily are taken in greater numbers. The more
desired and rare species that command the highest prices are taken in much
smaller numbers. These species were depleted in the 1980s when the United
States was importing large numbers of parrots and they are no longer as
abundant in the wild as they once were. This means that opportunistic
poachers are much less likely to come across them in the course of their
everyday lives and that only professional poachers might have the time and
resources, including means of transport, needed for finding these birds in
more remote locations.
A second important finding was that the measures of abundance and
accessibility used in this study were largely independent. Kendall partial
rank correlation coefficients showed that the measure of abundance was
significantly related to poaching (r¼.44, p< .05) when accessibility was held
constant; when abundance was held constant, accessibility was significantly
related to poaching (r¼.32, p<.05).
Pires and Clarke 133
Summary and Discussion
This study found significant relationships between elements of CRAVED
and estimated numbers of birds illegally captured for the 22 species of
parrots in Mexico. Species that are widely available and whose nestlings are
easily removable were captured in larger numbers. Those that are more
valuable and disposable and (and perhaps also enjoyable) were captured
in much smaller numbers. Though highly desirable, these latter species
were heavily poached in the 1980s and are now rare in the wild.
In line with previous research, these results suggest that most poaching
in Mexico is committed opportunistically by villagers seeking to augment
meager incomes, rather than by ‘‘professional’’ poachers seeking large prof-
its. This has potentially important implications for parrot conservation and
the study also holds implications for CRAVED. Before discussing these,
we should note the difficulties encountered in the study, which limit the
confidence that can be placed in the conclusions. As we argue below, these
difficulties are only to be expected when criminologists enter previously
unexplored territory.
The principal difficulty encountered in the study concerns the measure of
poaching. In general, wildlife crimes rarely come to official notice and
numbers of parrots poached in Mexico are severely undercounted in police
records (Cantu et al. 2007). We therefore used a measure of poaching,
‘estimated captured counts,’’ which was developed by Cantu et al. (2007)
on the basis of interviews with professional trappers and environmental police.
Table 1. Relationship between CRAVED Components and Estimates of Numbers
22 Species of Mexican Parrots
Component Measured by
Larger Numbers Poached
Nyears legally
.47* More years trapping
Overlap of parrots
and people
.37* Greater overlap of parrots
and people
Removable Nesting .45* Lower nests
Mex. Price þIUCN
.43* Less valuable and less
Enjoyable Beauty þLength .14 Nonsignificant
Source: Cantu et al. (2007).
Correlation between CRAVED component and numbers
*Significant <.01.
134 Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency 49(1)
Some of the limitations of this measure that we have noted above could be
corrected in a repeat of their study. For example, more representative samples
could be selected of the groups interviewed, the interview schedules could be
more carefully designed, and the questions could be more precisely formu-
lated. However, the principal source of error would be more difficult to correct,
which is that interviews were not conducted with the villagers who seem to
be responsible for most of the poaching. In theory, it would be possible to inter-
view representative samples of village poachers, butthis would complicate the
research and greatly increase its expense.
An alternative approach to estimating the number of parrots poached
would be to count the parrots found in illegal pet markets in Mexico.
Herrera and Hennessey (2007) did this in Bolivia where they hired an
individual working in an illegal pet market in the city of Santa Cruz to make
clandestine counts of parrots offered for sale during a 1-year period and to
categorize each bird by its species. The difficulties of extending this
approach would be (1) that there may be dozens of such markets in Mexico
(Herrera and Hennessey report that the market they studied was one of five
such markets in Santa Cruz); (2) that costs would probably allow only a small
sample of theseto be studied and for a shorter periodthan in the Bolivian study;
and (3) that studying illegal markets would carry some element of danger for
the researchers. A larger problem with this approach is that it would not include
the parrots sold by the roadside or traded with other villagers. Given these
difficulties and the limited funds available for criminological research in
developing countries, it could be some time before better estimates can be
obtained of parrots taken from the wild than were used in the present study.
Because the study was confined to Mexico, only a small number of
species is included though they constitute all those found in Mexico.
This precluded multivariate analysis of the data, which meant that interactions
among the variables could not be described and the relative importance of
the individual elements of CRAVED could not be determined. For exam-
ple, accessibility is significantly related to poaching in a bivariate model,
but it is unclear whether this would still be the case if it were included in
a model where the influence on poaching of other CRAVED variables was
simultaneously considered. This limits the conclusions about the support pro-
vided for CRAVED by the study. In addition, the small number of species
meant that it was only possible to perform a non-parametric analysis that
treated the dependent and independent variables as ordinal-ranked data, with
a resulting loss of variance in the poaching estimates for the various species.
A further problem in using CRAVED was that, despite an extensive
search of the scientific literature and reliable Internet sources, a satisfactory
Pires and Clarke 135
measure of one of its elements, concealable, could not be devised for the
sample. Some anecdotal evidence exists that certain species are particularly
noisy or are more prone to die if concealed in boxes with their beaks taped
shut, but no systematic data on these matters could be found. It should also
be said that the importance of concealable in the context of the study was
unclear, given anecdotal accounts that the authorities paid little attention to
parrot poaching and could easily be bribed.
Finally, the exploratory, post hoc, nature of the research means that some
of the correlations established might reflect chance variations in the measures
used of CRAVED. These measures need to be validated using other samples of
neotropical parrots that have been poached, such as the Bolivian sample
reported by Herrera and Hennessey (2007).
Any empirical research on wildlife crimes is likely to encounter the same
kind of difficulties that we experienced, especially relating to counts of
crime. For example, a recently published criminological evaluation of the
effect on elephant poaching of the international ban on ivory trading also
had to rely on less than ideal data on poaching (Lemieux and Clarke
2009). These difficulties might suggest that criminologists should suspend
any further studies of wildlife crimes until conservation scientists have
found better ways to measure these crimes. However, this could be too
late for many endangered species and, in any case, criminologists have
unrivalled experience in measuring crime. They should develop better mea-
sures, but they would need to demonstrate to funding agencies, who might
never have previously encountered criminologists, that the discipline has
something useful to offer to conservation. This would be difficult to do
without being able to call upon a relevant body of published studies,
however imperfect these might be. These were the considerations that led
us to embark on our study. We tried to meet the challenges by (1) searching
carefully for the best available measures of the variables we sought to use
and (2) using caution in our conclusions, while still endeavoring to make a
useful contribution to conservation. It is in this spirit that we turn to the possible
implications of the study for parrot conservation and for CRAVED.
Parrot Conservation
In line with most expert opinion, the results of this study suggest that
opportunistic poachers, mostly villagers who earn just a few dollars per
136 Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency 49(1)
bird, account for most of the parrots that are taken from the wild in Mexico.
Most parrot poaching seems not to be an organized enterprise, yielding
large profits, that is undertaken by professionals. This suggests that the
usual remedies for poaching—increased penalties, more enforcement, and
more protected areas—might in this case be of limited effectiveness. Legal
protections are already in place and cracking down on the poachers would
be difficult because of the large numbers of people involved and the com-
paratively minor nature of the offenses. If the authorities tried to punish
more poachers, they would therefore risk losing the support of the local
population. Moreover, crackdowns almost by definition are temporary and
are difficult to maintain for any length of time.
Under these circumstances, situational crime prevention, which like
CRAVED derives from opportunity theories, might offer a more promising
approach. It has proved highly effective in other contexts when tailored
to specific crime problems and focused where these are concentrated
(Guerette and Bowers 2009). Focusing on the six species of parrots that
account for 88 percent of the birds poached in Mexico could yield the great-
est benefits. Because nest poaching is the most prevalent method and
because parrots breed at the same time every year, the focus might usefully
be narrowed to protecting the nest of these species in the breeding season.
Other efficiencies could be achieved by focusing where most species are
concentrated—as shown in Figure 2 this is in Cintalapa and Tecpatan in the
state of Chiapas and Juchitan in Oaxaca. Situational measures to protect
nests might include nets and other physical barriers, CCTV surveillance
of open areas with termite mounds and installation of nest boxes too high
for poachers (Vaughan et al. 2003).
Whatever approach is adopted, it seems important to obtain the cooper-
ation of villagers in reducing the problem since it is they who are mostly
responsible for it. Programs in Caribbean nations to stimulate national pride
in their rare parrots have worked to protect these birds (Butler 1992;
Christian et al. 1996), but they might be less effective in Mexico with many
more parrot species and a much larger urban population. An alternative
might be to promote ecotourism, which provides an economic incentive for
locals to stop poaching. Ecotourist lodges throughout the world attract tour-
ists to see wildlife close-up and thus to contribute to the local economy.
However, it is difficult to guarantee sightings of wild parrots. Munn
(1992) has suggested that the clay licks in Peru, which attract large flocks
of Macaws, could support ecotourism, but only if the local population were
given ownership of the clay licks and could reap the profits of the tourism.
Another example is provided from the other side of the world by the
Pires and Clarke 137
Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary in Queensland, Australia, where hundreds of
beautiful wild Rainbow Lorikeets are fed twice-a-day for visitors to see
These parrots are now common in the local area. Such schemes
would be difficult to introduce and manage, but in the long term perhaps
afford the best prospect of reversing the decline of parrots in Mexico.
In addition to suggesting ways to deal with parrot poaching, the study
makes two other contributions to conservation criminology. First, it
employs recently assembled GIS data to study the overlap of human and
animal populations—a technique that could assist research into many other
kinds of wildlife crime. Second, like Lemieux and Clarke’s (2009) study of
elephant poaching, it shows that criminologists can undertake empirical
investigations of wildlife crime, without the considerable expense of
working in remote places, by reanalyzing data collected painstakingly by
biologists and conservation scientists. While this approach suffers from the
difficulties discussed above, it may presently be the most practicable way of
advancing empirical research within conservation criminology.
The results provide a further illustration of the value of studying what items
are stolen, and why they are stolen, for specific forms of theft. CRAVED is
Figure 2. Numbers of parrot species within Mexican municipalities. Three areas
with the highest concentration.
138 Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency 49(1)
intended to assist this task and, despite the small sample of parrots and the
consequent impossibility of using multivariate statistics to specify the
model adequately, the results suggest that it can help to explain not just theft
of manufactured goods but also poaching of at least one group of endan-
gered animals (and possibly others too). The fact that not all its elements
were equally useful in explaining parrot poaching and that some could not
be adequately measured was not unexpected and does not undermine its
value. CRAVED was not intended to be a ‘‘theory’’ of target choices, capa-
ble of falsification, but rather a heuristic to assist in their study. Heuristics
are designed to be modified and improved in the light of knowledge gained
in their use. This study suggests a possible modification of CRAVED,
which follows from the fact that the two measures of available, abundance
and accessibility, were found to be independently related to poaching. This
suggests that these measures might be separated and might both be included
in the model. (This would not destroy the mnemonic, since it would become
CRAAVED—which might suggest more longing for the object!) Second,
the findings also suggest that for any specific theft problem, when measures
of availability explain more of the variance than value and disposability, it
is likely that the thefts are opportunistic. When the reverse is true, they are
more likely to be professional. These predictions should be investigated in
further research.
Very considerable helpwith this study was received from Rutgers colleagues.
Joel Miller advised on statistical treatment of the data and Joel Caplan guided
our use of GIS data. Phyllis Schultze found numerous relevant studies in
the biological and conservation literatures. We are also indebted to several
biologists and conservationists who helped us understand parrot behavior
and poaching methods, including Juan Carlos Cantu, James Gilardi, Bennett
Hennessey, Alejandro Salinas, David Wiedenfeld, and Tim Wright.
Declaration of Conflicting Interests
The authors declared no potential conflicts of interests with respect to
the authorship and/or publication of this article.
The authors received no financial support for the research and/or authorship
of this article.
Pires and Clarke 139
Table A1. Estimated Poaching Counts and CRAVED Values for 22 Mexican Parrot Species
Aba Acc R V/D V/D E E
Poaching Count*
Years Legally
Overlap Par-
rots People
Mex. Price
Threat Sta-
tus IUCN
Length (cm)
0 1 2 N/A 1 1 32
0 3 1 N/A 2 0 43
Brown Hooded
4 12 2 N/A 4 2 22
Scarlet Macaw 50 0 2 2 564 4 2 88
Thick Billed
100 0 4 2 N/A 1 1 38
19 5 3 5 4 1 32
Barred Parakeet 500 19 17 2 N/A 4 0 17
Pacific Parakeet 500 9 7 3 7 4 2 17
500 7 20 2 50 4 1 24
Yucatan Parrot 500 12 10 2 20 4 2 26
Military Macaw 500 0 16 1 373 2 2 85
Red Crowned
600 4 14 2 55 1 2 30
Yellow Naped
4 18 3 20 4 1 32
Table A1. (continued)
Aba Acc R V/D V/D E E
Poaching Count*
Years Legally
Overlap Par-
rots People
Mex. Price
Threat Sta-
tus IUCN
Length (cm)
Mealy Parrot 1000 6 13 2 142 4 1 39
Green Parakeet 1000 17 6 2 182 4 1 35
Yellow Headed
1000 4 22 2 195 1 2 35
Red Lored
5000 19 21 2 75 4 2 33
Lilac Crowned
5000 8 9 3 50 2 2 33
Aztec Parakeet 7000 18 19 4 23 4 0 23
8000 5 8 2 5 4 1 13
White Fronted
8000 23 15 3 44 4 1 25
Orange Fronted
23500 23 11 4 18 4 1 24
*Source: Cantu et al. (2007). Estimated poaching count per year. Years legally trapped between 1979 and 2005.
Ab ¼Abundant; Acc ¼Accessible; R ¼Removable; V/D ¼Valuable/Disposable; E ¼Enjoyable.
Rank order of sum of human population density within species’ range.
1¼cliff crevices/tree cavities; 2 ¼tree cavities/palm stumps; 3 ¼tree
cavities and termitariums; 4 ¼exclusively termitariums (Source: Juniper and Parr 1998).
1¼endangered; 2 ¼vulnerable; 3 ¼near threatened; 4
¼least concern (IUCN 2010).
Combined binary measure: N. colors; percentage bright colors.
These species were assumed not to be poached
because of their inaccessible habitat and remote location.
The estimated captured count for these species includes birds coming from outside
Mexico. To correct for this bias 1 was subtracted from the captured estimates for these species for the analysis reported in Table 1.
1. For example, the following are mostly taken by opportunistic poachers: turtles,
tortoises, sea horses, and reptiles in Asia (TRAFFIC 2008); ‘‘bushmeat’’ in
Africa (Roe 2008); cacti in North America (Robbins and Ba´rcenas Luna 2003).
2. Theft rates of some new cars in the United States are 40 times greater than
others (Highway Loss Data Institute 2006).
3. CITES (The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild
Fauna and Flora) is an agreement amongst 175 countries to eliminate or limit
the trade of species at risk of extinction.
4. About 75 percent of parrots that are poached die in transit to their final sale
destinations. Even those that survive often become ‘‘sick, stressed, injured and
undernourished’’ while being transported in small boxes (Cantu et al.
2007:62). Moreover, nest poaching (the commonest method of poaching) further
reduces parrot populations because poachers often hack at nesting cavities with
machetes to reach the chicks and, in doing so, destroy a viable nest for future
parrot breeding (Cantu et al. 2007; Gonzalez 2003; Pain et al. 2006; Rodriguez
Castillo and Eberhard 2006).
5. Four studies conducted after passage of the WBCA found that nest poaching
decreased by roughly 60 percent (Wright et al. 2001). More recently, Cantu
et al. (2007) have shown that the United States has legally imported only a
relatively few parrots since 1993 and that smuggling of parrots to the United States
has also greatly diminished, perhaps reflecting the tightened border controls
between the United States and Mexico, introduced after September 11, 2001.
6. There was considerable evidence that trappers were capturing parrots over
quota and, if they came into contact with the police, they were using forged doc-
uments or bribes. Since 2008, trappers are no longer permitted to take parrots.
7. The low cost of wild parrots and their ready availability may explain why there
is little captive breeding of parrots in the neotropics. Cantu et al. (2007) report
that captive-bred species are six times more expensive than wild-caught species
in Mexico and that ‘‘the niches for captive bred parrots are the small segments
of Mexican society that can afford expensive birds or the export markets in
which they may be competitive’’ (Cantu et al. 2007:68).
8. The alternative methods of netting parrots in flight and setting cage traps are
both the province of experts.
10. For the Thick-Billed Parrot, only the area where it is considered to breed was
used in calculating its distribution. (This was the only species where the shapefile
dichotomizes the range between breeding and nonbreeding areas.) For the Military
Macaw, areas from which it has been extirpated were not included in its range.
142 Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency 49(1)
13. These measures are highly correlated with one another. Thus, using Kendall’s
Tau-b, years trapped has a correlation of .465 (p¼.004) with ‘‘how common’’
and also has a highly significant relationship with risk status (r¼.543, p¼.001).
14. Though the Orange Fronted Parakeet is the most poached parrot species in
Mexico, it still has a relatively large population, seemingly because these birds
can excavate their own cavities within termite mounds rather than relying on
other birds to excavate cavities within trees.
15. Due to the extreme difficulties of counting wild parrots, the chances are even
more remote that rates of poaching for each species, needed for some studies,
might soon become available.
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Stephen F. Pires is a PhD candidate at Rutgers University currently examining the
relationship between illicit parrot markets and poaching in the neo-tropics. Other
research endeavors include applying crime-mapping to better understand the illegal
wildlife trade, and examining the relationship between high-density foreclosures
and crime.
Ronald V. Clarke has examined many specific forms of crime using the perspec-
tives of situational crime prevention and rational choice. Together with graduate stu-
dents at the Rutgers School of Criminal Justice, he is currently applying these
perspectives to wildlife crimes, including poaching of endangered species.
146 Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency 49(1)
... Taking the model out of its native geography of urban property crimes and into the context of rural landscapes and vast seascapes, a handful of criminologists, most notably Pires (e.g., Pires & Clarke, 2011;Pires & Clarke, 2012;Pires, 2015), have used CRAVED approach to explain the poaching (i.e., illegal harvest) of fisheries or wildlife (Table 1). This research has made significant advancements in adapting CRAVED components within a non-conventional context. ...
... For example, Pires and Clarke (2011) applied CRAVED to analyze what species of parrots were targeted for the pet trade in Bolivia, finding that species most commonly found at the market could be characterized as being enjoyable and available. Importantly, they adapted the component available according to two dimensions more suited to wildlife: the species' relative abundance (population size) and its accessibility (distance to habitat) to humans (Pires and Clarke, 2011;Pires & Clarke, 2012). Further applications of CRAAVED to explain parrotpoaching behaviors and markets were conducted in Mexico (Pires and Clarke, 2012), Bolivia and Peru (Pires, 2015), and more recently in the vast pet markets of Indonesia (Pires et al., 2021). ...
... Importantly, they adapted the component available according to two dimensions more suited to wildlife: the species' relative abundance (population size) and its accessibility (distance to habitat) to humans (Pires and Clarke, 2011;Pires & Clarke, 2012). Further applications of CRAAVED to explain parrotpoaching behaviors and markets were conducted in Mexico (Pires and Clarke, 2012), Bolivia and Peru (Pires, 2015), and more recently in the vast pet markets of Indonesia (Pires et al., 2021). Beyond parrots, Petrossian and Clarke (2014) found that species most commonly caught illegally by commercial fishing vessels were found to be sold more often in ports of convenience or ports known to have high levels of noncompliance (i.e., concealable), more likely caught by longliners (i.e., removable), abundant, commonly harvested by several known illegal fishing countries (i.e., accessible), larger (i.e., valuable), found in more recipes (i.e., enjoyable), and highly commercial (i.e., disposable) (Table 1). ...
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The criminogenic dimensions of conservation are highly relevant to contemporary protected area management. Research on crime target suitability in the field of criminology has built new understanding regarding how the characteristics of the crime targets affect their suitability for being targeted by offenders. In the last decade, criminologists have sought to apply and adapt target suitability frameworks to explain wildlife related crimes. This study seeks to build upon the extant knowledge base and advance adaptation and application of target suitability research. First, we drew on research, fieldwork, and empirical evidence from conservation science to develop a poaching-stage model with a focus on live specimens or wild animals- rather than a market stage and wildlife product-focused target suitability model. Second, we collected data in the Intensive Protection Zone of Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park (BBSNP), Sumatra, Indonesia through surveys with local community members (n=400), and a three-day focus group with conservation practitioners (n= 25). Our target suitability model, IPOACHED, predicts that species that are in-demand, passive, obtainable, all-purpose, conflict-prone, hideable, extractable, and disposable are more suitable species for poaching and therefore more vulnerable. When applying our IPOACHED model, we find that the most common response to species characteristics that drive poaching in BBSNP was that they are in-demand, with support for cultural or symbolic value (n=101 of respondents, 25%), ecological value (n=164, 35%), and economic value (n=234, 59%). There was moderate support for the conflict-prone dimension of the IPOACHED model (n=70, 18%). Other factors, such as a species lack of passiveness, obtainability and extractability, hamper poaching regardless of value. Our model serves as an explanatory or predictive tool for understanding poaching within a conservation-based management unit (e.g., a protected area) rather than for a specific use market (e.g., pets). Conservation researchers and practitioners can use and adapt our model and survey instruments to help explain and predict poaching of species through the integration of knowledge and opinions from local communities and conservation professionals, with the ultimate goal of preventing wildlife poaching.
... Its first application was manifested in the Lemieux and Clarke 2009 study of elephant poaching in Africa [25]. Subsequently, researchers have applied these theories to the study of parrot poaching in Latin America [26,27] and Indonesia [28]; illegal commercial fishing [29,30]; illegal recreational fishing [31,32]; tiger poaching [33]; human-leopard conflict [34]; redwood burl poaching [35]; and others. The collective findings of these studies have demonstrated the utility of examining such crimes through the environmental criminological theoretical lens, because evidence-based intervention strategies can then be directly derived from within these theoretical foundations to effectively deal with such problems. ...
... Its first application was manifested in the Lemieux and Clarke 2009 study of elephant poaching in Africa [25]. Subsequently, researchers have applied these theories to the study of parrot poaching in Latin America [26,27] and Indonesia [28]; illegal commercial fishing [29,30]; illegal recreational fishing [31,32]; tiger poaching [33]; human-leopard conflict [34]; redwood burl poaching [35]; and others. The collective findings of these studies have demonstrated the utility of examining such crimes through the environmental criminological theoretical lens, because evidencebased intervention strategies can then be directly derived from within these theoretical foundations to effectively deal with such problems. ...
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Albatrosses are among the most threatened seabird species. Often entangled in gillnets or hooked while longline fishing gear is being set, albatrosses are affected by fishing. This is assumed to be especially true in cases where illegal longline fishing vessels are involved, as they are less likely to implement the bycatch mitigation measures implemented to reduce the risk of albatrosses being caught on their hooks. This is the assumption that was tested in the current study, which uses environmental criminology as its guiding theoretical framework. Using the spatial units of one-half-degree by one-half-degree longitude/latitude cells, this research examined the patterns of concentration of potentially illegal longlining efforts and their relationships to commercially sought-out and illegally caught (i.e., CRAAVED—concealable, removable, abundant, accessible, valuable, enjoyable, disposable) fish species concentrations, as well as their effects on the average risk of albatrosses. The results indicated that (a) potentially illegal longlining activity is spatially concentrated; (b) this concentration is exhibited in areas with the highest concentrations of the presence of CRAAVED fish; and (c) the average risk score of albatrosses, as measured by their International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List status, is significantly higher in the areas where illegal longlining vessels are found controlling for the activities of legal longlining vessels. These findings provide strong grounding that illegal longline fishing poses a particularly serious threat to the survival of albatrosses. These activities, however, are not randomly spread across the vast oceans, but rather are highly spatially concentrated. Therefore, the bird conservation lobby should work closely with regional fisheries management organizations to devise and implement targeted interventions aimed at reducing potential illegal longline fishing, which, in turn, will likely have positive effects on albatrosses. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Article here:
... Research suggests that the prevalence of illegal activities such as hunting and the harvesting of forest resources that occur in protected areas is mainly because the species targeted for bushmeat are needed as a source of protein by members of the adjacent communities [41,42]. To extend this knowledge, we use the routine activities theory to explain illegal human behaviors in protected areas [43][44][45]. ...
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Illegal activities pose challenges to the conservation of mountain gorillas (Gorilla beringei beringei) across the Virunga Landscape (VL). This paper investigates the relationship between household livelihood security (HLS) and the perceived prevalence of illegal activities across the VL. Results from a survey of 223 residents of areas adjacent to the VL in Uganda and Rwanda reveal varied links between human livelihoods and illegal activities threatening wildlife. For example, while poaching appears to be negatively associated with health and financial security among residents, it is positively associated with education security, indicating that education may be contributing to illegal activities threatening wildlife. Food security constraints were also found to be significantly associated with poaching. Finally, findings suggest that although HLS investments are essential in improving local community livelihoods, only food and financial security are the most effective means of reducing illegal activities in Virunga.
... Despite the general lack of an empirical investigation into the dynamic predictive capability of the CRAVED framework (see Quinn et al., 2022a, for a recent exception to this), there is a body of evidence suggesting its utility in determining which goods are stolen most at any point in time in a variety of contexts (for examples, see Armitage & Pease, 2007;S. Pires, 2015;Pires & Clarke, 2012;Pires & Petrossian, 2016;Sidebottom, 2013;Smith, 2018). In the context of electronic consumer goods in particular, the value and disposability attributes of goods have been recognised as having the greatest impact on stealing counts (Armitage & Pease, 2007;Clarke, 1999;Quinn et al., 2022a;Quinn & Clare, 2021b). ...
Since 2002, seven iterations of the Drug Use Monitoring in Australia (DUMA) programme survey have asked arrested offenders about their stealing behaviours, including questions relating to stolen goods target selection and disposal. Throughout this same time period, stealing and domestic burglary rates in Australia have steadily declined. This paper examines the DUMA data with these high-level acquisitive crime trends in mind. Survey findings point to offenders having shifted away from stealing increasingly devalued electronic consumer goods for resale purposes, and toward stealing increasingly expensive food and clothing for personal consumption. This is consistent with what would be expected according to Consumer Price Index data, the opportunity-based CRAVED framework, and offender domain expertise. Applied and theoretical implications are discussed.
... In practice, these markets are visible trafficking nodes and likely do not operate in isolation. Previous research on the illegal parrot trade in Mexico, Bolivia, and Peru concluded that markets are largely opportunistic and supply-driven, satisfying local demand based on the availability of species in a market's catchment area (Pires and Clarke, 2012;Pires and Guerette, 2014;Pires, 2015b). However, quantitative analyses demonstrated that the parrot trade is actually driven by cultural preference, selecting for attractiveness, size, vocalizations, and history of trade (Daut et al., 2015;Romero-Vidal et al., 2020;Tella and Hiraldo, 2014). ...
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Amazonian countries have historically sourced the international wildlife trade. However, little is known about their domestic trade, which is often overlooked in estimates of trafficking. Peruvian law prohibits the unauthorized trade and possession of wildlife, but illegal sales are common in urban markets. To describe the dynamics, diversity, and composition of this illegal trade, we surveyed live wildlife for sale in urban markets in 16 Peruvian departments from 2007 to 2012. We identified the main hotspots of market trafficking, detected 193 species being sold alive, and estimate that 0.35 to 1.25 million animals were trafficked in this period. Iquitos, Lima, Pucallpa, and Tumbes were the most active and diverse trafficking nodes. Amazonian cities trafficked mostly local species, whereas in other cities the proportion of local species varied significantly (39-67%). Species dissimilarity across cities was high and correlated with their distance along trafficking routes. To assess if the market-based trade was representative of the national trade, we compared species richness in markets with that of country-wide confiscations. At least 430 species were confiscated in Peru between 2001-2019, but only 50% of species overlapped with markets in the same cities and period of our surveys. Our data suggest that urban markets are connected in a structured network that provides consumers with a diverse selection of species from across the country. Authorities should consider organizational aspects of trafficking networks to ensure success. Failure to eradicate wildlife trafficking in markets constitutes a serious threat to wildlife conservation and One Health in Peru and beyond.
... ivory; Tensen 2016) fetch the highest prices. Alternatively, for some groups being accessible and abundant can be a greater risk factor than monetary value (Pires and Clarke 2012). Beyond factors that influence a species' potential to be commercialized, there are several factors that influence the probable magnitude of any negative impacts on species or populations. ...
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Exploitation of insects and spiders through commercialization represents a serious threat to rare species and to common species that provide valuable ecological services. The speed, scope, and anonymity, of online commerce places full monitoring and managing of exploitation beyond the resources available to regulatory agencies. To assess the level of online commerce of insect and spider species and services and to test the feasibility of focused searches by student-specialists to generate “leads” for regulatory agencies to pursue, a group of entomology students lead by entomologists and wildlife biologists performed a directed search for sales of insect and spider species listed on CITES Appendices, the IUCN Red List, and the U.S. Endangered Species List, and species that provide services Focused searches by student-specialists proved effective, locating sales of 79 listed species across all lists. The proportion of listed species discovered for sale varied from 2% to 55% across protected lists and the sale prices of species varied from 2 to 3,850 USD. The number of listed species for sale also varied across platforms with less than 6 found on either Amazon or Alibaba and more than 30 found on Etsy and Ebay. In contrast to the listed species, numbers of insects and spiders sold to provide services can range in the billions of individuals and total sales can range in the millions USD. While all species for this purpose do provide a service, they each present unique risks to other species in their genera, guild, and to the larger ecological community, in some cases threatening ecological functions. To effectively monitor the impact of invertebrate service species, we propose incorporating these “livestock” into the existing regulatory framework used for vertebrates.
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Unsustainable hunting, both illegal and legal, has led to the extirpation of many species. In the last 35 years giraffe Giraffa spp. populations have declined precipitously, with extinctions documented in seven African countries. Amongst the various reasons for these population declines, poaching is believed to play an important role in some areas. Giraffes are primarily hunted for consumption and for the use of their body parts as trophies and in traditional medicine. However, the socio-economic factors that correlate with the use of giraffe body parts are not well understood. We conducted our study in Tsavo Conservation Area, Kenya, which experiences high levels of poaching. We used semi-structured surveys amongst 331 households to document how giraffe body parts are typically acquired and their intended use (i.e. trophy, medicinal or consumptive). We then used logistic regression models to assess the correlations between nine socio-economic factors and the use of giraffe body parts. We found that giraffe body parts had mostly consumptive and trophy uses. One-time suppliers, opportunistic access and widely known markets were the most common means of acquiring giraffe body parts. Results from our models showed that three variables (gender: men, occupation: tourism worker, and land ownership) were correlated significantly and positively with the use of giraffe body parts. We describe the complex links between socio-economic factors and the use of giraffe body parts and highlight the importance of implementing mitigation measures adapted to local contexts to combat a challenge that many species of conservation concern are facing.
Illegal hunting threatens conservation, but little research has explored structural correlates of illegal hunting trends. The leading theoretical understanding of illegal hunting is from a situational crime perspective. These situational and individual studies provide vital information on the decision-making of a wildlife offender and help improve enforcement strategies. However, correlates explaining the concentration of illegal hunting across multiple locations has yet to be explored. There has not been any criminological development to examine the overall geographical distribution of illegal hunting across a nation, territory, or state. The current study applies a green criminological perspective to analyze how the production institutions of the economy correlates with the trends of illegal hunting of terrestrial species across Texas counties. Results indicate that the treadmill of production does relate to illegal hunting, suggesting that there is conflict between the economy and public over the use of the wilderness.
The endangered Yellow-headed Parrot (Amazona oratrix) has experienced a considerable reduction in abundance and distribution. Identifying natural and anthropogenic causes of nest failure is a critical step towards developing conservation actions that increase nest survival. In this study, we examined daily nest survival in relation to temporal, habitat, and anthropogenic factors, as well as nest site properties. We monitored nests (n = 124) across 6 study sites in Belize during 2017 and 2018 and independently modeled the effects of predation, abandonment and poaching on daily nest survival rates. Overall, the estimated cumulative nest survival probability was 0.18 (95% CI: 0.12–0.25). Predation was the main cause of nest failure, followed by abandonment, and poaching. Our results showed that nest predation and abandonment usually occurred early in the nesting cycle. Day within the nesting season negatively influenced daily survival for abandoned nests and had a quadratic effect on survival for poached nests. Poaching events occurred at a specific date range later in the season, with nests farther from the nearest human settlement having higher daily survival. Findings from this study highlight the additive mortality effect that nest poaching is having on Yellow-headed Parrot populations in Belize and show that managers can anticipate the timing and location of nests most vulnerable to poaching.
The chapter discusses human trafficking and wildlife trafficking, similarities and differences in view of ecofeminism and perspectives used in green criminology
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The market reduction approach is a crime reduction strategy that aims to reduce and disrupt stolen goods markets, in addition to reducing theft levels by making it more risky for thieves to sell stolen property. Initially, the concept has shown promise in England with regard to reducing traditional forms of property-related crime as well as disrupting certain types of stolen goods markets. Additionally, strides have been made using property as a unit of analysis rather than traditional foci of attention when examining crime patterns and designing tactical responses. In line with the 2005 United Nations program of work on transnational and organized crime, this article uses the specific example of the illegal trade of endangered flora and fauna to explore how the market reduction approach can be expanded beyond its current use into the realm of nontraditional types of property crime.
This volume consist of eight main sections. Initially origins and evolutionary relationships are examined, followed by a brief section on the classification of the parrots. Next a section reviews the natural history of the parrots, briefly covering: general behaviour; distribution; habitat; movements; social behaviour; diet; breeding; and nocturnal species. Conservation status ics covered next. The main threats to parrots are then outlined and discussed: habitat loss; live bird trade; introduced species; persecution and hunting; and storms'climatic change. A brief section then looks at captive breeding. The mian body of the book is taken up with colour plates and a systematic section. The systematic section contains the following information, for each species: identification notes; voice; distribution and status (including distribution maps); ecology; description; sex/age; measurements; geographical variation; and references.
There are four endemic species of Amazona parrots in the Lesser Antilles, namely the imperial or Sisserou parrot Amazona imperialis and the red-necked or Jaco parrot A. arausiaca of the Commonwealth of Dominica, the St Lucia parrot A. versicolor of St Lucia, and the St Vincent parrot A. guildingii of St Vincent and The Grenadines. Seven other endemic members of the same family, Psittacidae, have become extinct in the region in historical times. These four extant species are now all threatened by deforestation, predation, illegal hunting and collecting, and natural disasters. Measures for parrot conservation consist of environmental education, habitat protection, enforcement of appropriate legislation, and enhancement of wild breeding and captive breeding. These approaches are reviewed for each of the islands and compared with the relatively successful but much more expensive conservation measures adopted for the Puerto Rican parrot A. vittata in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. Recommendations are made for future conservation emphasis and research.
Recent research argues that because markets for stolen goods act as incentives to steal, police and criminologists should shift attention from thieves to methods of disrupting demand for the goods. The underlying research, however, is too thin to support this advice. Effective policy requires considerably more investigation. Analysis of pawn transaction data from Texas supports this assessment. It suggests that proposals to disrupt demand are unlikely to succeed, partly because similar actions already applied to pawnshops have shown limited effect, mainly because hot goods are invisible in the daily flow of secondhand merchandise through the general retail market. Police and criminologists should remain focused on thieves and their apprehension, and on pursuing ways to do this more efficiently, such as through improved tracking of pawn transactions. There may be other intervention possibilities as well, but much more empirical research is required to identify them.
In some places of the northeastern Peruvian Amazon the harvesting and local trade of parrot nestlings is still a common practice (loreada) that takes place every year between February and April, despite being banned by the national laws. Between 1996 and 1999, I monitored the use of these birds in 3890-ha of Mauritia flexuosa-palm swamps, located close to the village of Victoria (Loreto, Peru). Seven species of parrots were collected by local poachers in the study area, with Amazona amazonica (61.1% of the captures) and Ara ararauna (25.9%) the most commonly harvested. The total number of nestlings taken during the 4-year study period was 1718, ranging from 680 birds harvested in 1996 to 166 in 1998. The two methods used to collect nestlings, cutting down the nesting tree or opening a hole in the trunk to reach the nest cavity, are not sustainable because nest-trees become useless and the next generation is completely removed. The analyses of demographic data and annual harvest rates suggest that at least three species (Ara ararauna, Ara macao and Amazona amazonica) are being over-harvested and may be seriously threatened in the long term.