ArticlePDF Available

Abstract and Figures

The fashion industry is one of the largest markets for illegal wildlife products. This study examined US luxury fashion-related wildlife seizures made between 2003 and 2013 to better guide detection, enforcement , and policy. The findings of this study indicate that the number of incidents has increased over the 11-year period, while the number of associated items seized has decreased over this time. Of these seizures, nearly 88% were produced goods. A small proportion of genera made up the majority of seizures, with reptiles in particular accounting for 84% of incidents. Over half of all wildlife was wild-caught and was exported from eight countries. Based on these findings, it is suggested that policy be enacted relating specifically to the use of exotic leathers and furs, and that situational crime prevention alongside commitments to sustainability from fashion brands be used to reduce illegal imports and improve industry sustainability.
Content may be subject to copyright.
Luxury Fashion Wildlife Contraband in the USA
Monique C. Sosnowski
and Gohar A. Petrossian
John Jay College of Criminal Justice, 524 W 59th St., New York, NY 10019
Abstract: The fashion industry is one of the largest markets for illegal wildlife products. This study examined
US luxury fashion-related wildlife seizures made between 2003 and 2013 to better guide detection, enforce-
ment, and policy. The findings of this study indicate that the number of incidents has increased over the 11-
year period, while the number of associated items seized has decreased over this time. Of these seizures, nearly
88% were produced goods. A small proportion of genera made up the majority of seizures, with reptiles in
particular accounting for 84% of incidents. Over half of all wildlife was wild-caught and was exported from
eight countries. Based on these findings, it is suggested that policy be enacted relating specifically to the use of
exotic leathers and furs, and that situational crime prevention alongside commitments to sustainability from
fashion brands be used to reduce illegal imports and improve industry sustainability.
Keywords: Illegal wildlife trade, Fashion, LEMIS, Environmental criminology, Seizures, Luxury
The illegal trade in flora and fauna is among the most
profitable criminal enterprises in the world. Ranked
alongside the illegal trades in narcotics, arms, and humans,
this trade involves hundreds of millions of individual plants
and animals, and tens of thousands of species (TRAFFIC
n.d.). A worldwide problem, the United Nations has
deemed this trade a ‘global phenomenon’ worth an esti-
mated annual $20 billion (UNODC 2016).
The wildlife trade is regulated on an international level
by the Convention on the International Trade in Endan-
gered Species (CITES), which entered into force in 1975
and focuses on the global trade in threatened and vulner-
able species. The aim of CITES is to prevent the overex-
ploitation of species by designating degrees of protection
over more than 35,000 species of plants and animals. These
varying degrees of protection inform the legality of trade
across the listed flora and fauna (CITES 2019). Specifically,
CITES guides what can and cannot be legally traded across
international borders, given that far from all trade in
wildlife is illegal (i.e., there are global legal markets for
products such as seafood, timber, and meat) (CITES 2019).
Between 1999 and 2015, the 183 parties to CITES made
over 164,000 seizures of illegally traded goods, inventorying
nearly 7000 species (UNODC 2016).
In the USA, CITES regulations work in effect with five
domestic regulatory frameworks to address the national
and international movement of wildlife. These five regu-
latory frameworks include the Endangered Species Act, the
Migratory Bird Treaty Act, the Wild Bird Conservation Act,
the Lacey Act, and the Marine Mammal Protection Act.
Electronic supplementary material: The online version of this article (https://doi.
org/10.1007/s10393-020-01467-y) contains supplementary material, which is avail-
able to authorized users.
Correspondence to: Monique C. Sosnowski, e-mail:
Original Contribution
Ó2020 EcoHealth Alliance
Across all ports of entry, the United States Fish and Wildlife
Service, in partnership with US Customs and Border Pro-
tection, enforce these regulations, confiscating goods im-
ported or exported in contravention of standing regulations
(USFWS 2019).
According to the United Nations Office of Drugs and
Crime (UNODC), wildlife imports head to seven major
markets, including (1) furniture, (2) art, de
´cor, and jewelry,
(3) seafood, (4) cosmetics and perfume, (5) food, tonics,
and medicines, (6) pets, zoos, and breeding, and (7) fash-
ion. Although the existence of these markets is evident,
what remains unclear is the extent of the role that each of
them plays in the trade. Present internationally, these
markets have global demands and multi-billion dollar
Wildlife in Luxury Fashion Products
Among these seven markets is fashion. The fashion
industry, and especially luxury fashion, poses a high de-
mand for wildlife products. Worth roughly US$100 billion
(Okonkwo 2016), the luxury fashion industry is known for
its prolific use of wildlife skins and furs (Carrigan et al.
2013; Kapferer and Michaut 2017; UNCTAD 2012). Aside
from this, luxury fashion can be distinguished from other
divisions of the fashion industry by its quality, exclusivity,
and high prices (Ko et al. 2019).
Although the fashion industry involves fewer species
than other wildlife industries, such as the pet trade, the size
of the industry requires very large quantities of utilized
species (Russo 2014). The International Union for the
Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and TRAFFIC, a wildlife
trade monitoring network, estimate that in 2012, approx-
imately half a million python skins were exported from
Southeast Asia alone, the overwhelming majority of which
ended up in the European fashion market. The associated
luxury brand importers for these skins included companies
such as Prada, Gucci, Herme
`s, Dior, Burberry, Giorgio
Armani, and Chanel (Russo 2014). Reptile skins, in par-
ticular, have emerged as a popular fashion input material.
In 2013, over 3500 metric tons of reptile skins were legally
imported globally, estimated to be worth US$650 million;
this was more than twice the inflation-adjusted total for the
previous decade. Depending on species, 3500 metric tons
could represent between 2 and 50 million individual rep-
tiles (UNODC 2016).
The use of reptile skins in fashion is an arguably recent
endeavor, only having flourished over the last 100 years
(UNCTAD 2012; UNODC 2016). The trade in snakes and
lizards, as well as practices, such as crocodile farming, only
gained momentum in the nineteenth and twentieth cen-
turies. The mid 1930s, in particular, saw millions of reptile
skins harvested annually in India, Indonesia, and
throughout the tropics, for use in fashion. The trade and
utilization of reptile skins thrived globally through the
1950s and 1960s, which has been identified as the peak of
crocodile skin use in the West (UNCTAD 2012; UNODC
2016). Until the 1960s, wildlife trade was largely unregu-
lated (UNCTAD 2012). In 1963, things started to change.
The IUCN published the first edition of the ‘‘Red Book
Data’’, which identified the world’s endangered species,
including many reptiles (UNCTAD 2012). This attention to
the status of species further culminated in the establish-
ment of the Convention on International Trade in
Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES) in
1975 (CITES 2019; UNCTAD 2012). Currently the 183
signatories to CITES are committed to sustainable trade in
wildlife (CITES 2019). The attention to the population
statuses of species, however, has not exempted endangered
species from harvesting or commercial use. As of 2016,
fourteen countries had registered breeding operations of
CITES Appendix I-listed
crocodile, caiman, or alligator
species (UNODC 2016).
Unlike reptile skins, fur has been used in fashion for
centuries (UNODC 2016), and it remains a major fashion
input. In 2013, the CITES Trade Database documented
wild-sourced exports of close to 70,000 bobcat skins, 50,000
river otter skins, 32,000 brown fur seal skins, and almost
27,000 peccary skins. Although some of these skins are used
for decorative purposes, the main market for these prod-
ucts is the fashion industry (UNODC 2016).
The high demand for wildlife products in the luxury
fashion market is reflected in their prices. As of 2019, a pair
of Gucci python ankle boots retail for roughly $3850
(2019), whereas a Michael Kors sable fur coat is available
for approximately $54,000 (2018a), and a Bottega Veneta
crocodile shoulder bag has a price point of $15,750
(2018b). Men’s products, such as Salvatore Ferragamo li-
zard loafers, can also be found online at a price point of
$1600 (2018c). The most expensive handbag in the world,
auctioned by Christie’s in 2016, was a diamond-encrusted
crocodile Herme
`s Berkin bag with a price tag of $300,168—
CITES Appendix I includes species that are threatened with extinction. The trade in
these specimens is highly regulated, and only permitted in exceptional circumstances
(CITES 2019).
M. C. Sosnowski, G. A. Petrossian
selling above the handbags standard retail value of $280,000
(Vasudev 2016). These items represent a miniscule sample
of the availability of and demand for wildlife-based prod-
ucts in the luxury fashion industry. The existence of these
goods, paired with the import seizures of fashion-related
products, prompts this investigation into the role and
trends of wildlife in the industry.
Overview of Fashion Seizure Research
In 2016, Petrossian, Pires, and van Uhm analyzed the over
37,000 import seizures made by USFWS and recorded in
the Law Enforcement Management Information Systems
(LEMIS) database between 2003 and 2012 (Petrossian et al.
2016). Their results revealed small leather products as
among the most commonly confiscated wildlife product
with over 4000 individual seizure events occurring between
2003 and 2012. About 82% of these small leather goods
were made from various reptile products. These results
suggest that the domestic fashion market is among the
most popular destinations for wildlife imports in the USA,
and that reptile products likely play a significant role in this
A study by van Uhm et al. (2019) examined trade
seizures of imports and exports made between 2003 and
2010 in the USA and EU. The top 20.6% of all US seizures
consisted of small leather products and garments, including
shoes. Although industry of importer was not specifically
examined during this study, the results indicate that over
one-fifth of illegal imports seized were destined for the
fashion market. The USA clearly dominated the EU in
terms of fashion-related seizures, highlighting the extent to
which fashion goods dominate the US wildlife imports.
To date, no published studies have quantified the
illegal trade practices in the fashion industry, nor have they
indicated the effects this industry may have on global
ecosystems. Reports by organizations, such as the UNODC
(2016) and UNCTAD (2012), have summarized the global
international trade in wildlife, with specific focuses on
reptile skins and big cats, but the international scale of this
examination and specific focus on two categories of im-
ports limits its scope. This research, therefore, is designed
to fill this gap.
Theoretical Framework
Although the illegal wildlife trade has been historically
approached from disciplines such as ecology (Gillson
2003), biology (Karesh et al. 2005), sociology (Taruvinga
and Mushunje 2014; van Uhm et al. 2019), and economics
(Damania and Bulte 2007; Mason et al. 2012; Schneider
2008), this paper will take a criminological approach to the
issue, specifically using environmental criminology to guide
its examination and assessment of the trade (Petrossian
et al. 2016). Environmental criminology is a family of
theories arguing that criminal events should be understood
as the intersection of offenders and targets in a specific time
and place (Brantingham and Brantingham 1991). It looks
for patterns across these elements to seek and explain
crimes in terms of surrounding circumstances. The
manipulation of these circumstances makes it possible to
prevent the occurrence of crime (Wortley and Mazerolle
Given the intersection of elements that must transpire
to provide criminal opportunity, environmental criminol-
ogy postulates that opportunities for crime are not ran-
domly spread, but rather concentrated across space, time,
and victims or targets. Previous papers have identified these
concentrations as specific to wildlife crime. For example, in
examining the illegal wildlife trade in the USA, Petrossian
et al. (2016) found concentrations in imported wildlife
product by type, with nine out of 64 possible types
accounting for 61% of all seizures; exporting country, with
52% of all seizures exported from six countries; and
transportation mode, with 69% of seizures arriving by air.
In examining seizures recorded by the group TRAFFIC,
Rosen and Smith (2010) also identified distinct patterns,
including marked concentrations of exports from South
and Southeast Asia, as well as an unequal distribution of
taxa, with 51% of seizures being of mammals and mammal
Based on these previous findings, it is expected that
concentrations related to exporting country, wildlife genera
and species, product types, and wildlife source, will emerge
in relation to illegal luxury fashion imports into the USA.
Certain wildlife genera, for example, are likely to be more
highly coveted by the fashion industry due to their socio-
cultural demand, and may emanate from select countries or
regions. These desired genera are likely sourced in similar
ways and used in similar product types. Once these con-
centrations are identified, efforts can be focused to devise
intervention techniques in order to reduce the opportuni-
ties for these crimes, as well as make corresponding policy
Policy implications will be addressed using situational
crime prevention, which includes a set of focused response
Luxury Fashion Wildlife Contraband in the USA
strategies concentrating on the circumstances that give rise
to specific crimes. It addresses crimes with 25 intervention
techniques of managerial and environmental change. By
focusing on the settings of crimes, situational crime pre-
vention attempts to make criminal activity less attractive to
offenders. Situational crime prevention techniques include
increasing the effort and risks related to committing crimes,
reducing the rewards associated with crimes, as well as
removing excuses and provocations of partaking in crimi-
nal activity. Interventions falling under these concepts have
been applied successfully in over 200 cases ranging from
burglary and theft to problems of violence to reduce crime
occurrence (Clarke 1997). Based on the results of the sei-
zure analysis, situational crime prevention techniques will
be suggested for trade reduction.
To understand the patterns of luxury high fashion wildlife
imports into the USA, data were obtained from the United
States Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) Law Enforcement
Management Information System (LEMIS) database via a
Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. The LEMIS
database contains records of wildlife confiscations made
within the US. Confiscations are recorded as being made
due to CITES, Endangered Species Act, Lacey Act, Migra-
tory Bird Treaty Act, Marine Mammal Protection Act, and
Wild Bird Conservation Act violations. Each confiscation
incident includes information on the species, the descrip-
tion of the item (i.e., bones, skin, meat, medicinal), US port
of confiscation, the quantity with a corresponding unit of
measurement, purpose (i.e., educational, botanical,
biomedical research, personal, scientific, commercial),
source (i.e., wild, commercially bred, bred in captivity), and
the country of export. Data included in this request ranged
from 2003 to 2013. Changes in the regulations of this da-
tabase restricted the release of commercial importer iden-
tifications after 2013, limiting the ability to obtain more
recent data relating to luxury fashion seizures.
Luxury fashion imports were filtered from this data-
base by identifying importers whose primary products were
garments or shoes; jewelry companies were omitted. Brands
included are those under the LVMH and Kering groups,
each of which own a collection of well-known luxury
fashion designer brands, as well as other brands with sim-
ilar profiles based on products, popularity, prices, and sales.
Filtered data were analyzed in IBM SPSS Version 23.
Each line of entry represented one species identified and
therefore was treated as a single seizure incident (Kurland
and Pires 2017; Petrossian et al. 2016). Only seizures were
examined in order to focus on the illegal aspect of the trade
(Petrossian et al. 2016).
Analytical Strategy
The analysis consisted primarily of descriptive statistics
demonstrating trends in seizures by type of products,
genera, species, as well as the source of these products and
their origin country. Linear regressions were performed to
analyze trends over time for the more commonly seized
reptile species, as well as wildlife product types. A heatmap
was created in order to visualize the nuances of these
For the analysis of concentrations, Lorenz plots were
applied and corresponding Gini coefficients were calcu-
lated. The Gini coefficient was originally designed to cal-
culate income inequality (Gini 1921), but has since been
applied to a wide range of issues spanning wastewater
discharge (Sun et al. 2010), global CO
emissions (Soares
et al. 2018), as well as wildlife trade (van Uhm et al. 2019).
The formula used to calculate the Gini coefficient is shown
in Eq. 1. G is the Gini coefficient; A is the area between the
line of equality and the curve; and B is the proportion of
area below the curve. Based on the Gini coefficient, the 80–
20 rule (or the Pareto principle) was further applied to
explain the observed concentrations. This general principle
states that roughly 80% of effects come from 20% of causes
(Newman 2013). Similar strategies have been applied to
analyze and explain concentrations in crime across crimi-
nological studies, and particularly illegal wildlife (Kurland
and Pires 2017).
Trends in Illegal Imports Over Time
There were a total of 474 relevant incidents and 5607 items
seized between 2003 and 2013. For reference, there were
2930 legal CITES trade import/export permits relating to
M. C. Sosnowski, G. A. Petrossian
commercial fashion
issued into the USA during this same
time period. Figure 1depicts the trends in both incidents
and items during the time frame as well as corresponding
linear trend lines. The linear trend lines indicate an overall
increase over time in the number of incidents with an
overall decrease in the number of items seized. The period
from 2007 to 2009 appeared to have experienced lower
rates of both seizure incidents and seized items. After this
dip, trends for incidents and items diverge—incidents
continue to grow while items tapered off or decreased, with
a spike in both incidents and items in 2012. All seizures
were recorded as imported for commercial reasons.
Concentrations by Type of Wildlife Product
Table 1presents the types of wildlife products confiscated
from US luxury fashion importers between 2003 and 2013.
These seizures indicate that roughly 88% of the fashion
products incidents comprised of fully manufactured
products as opposed to input materials, and consisted
Table 1. Wildlife Descriptions by Nof Incidents and Items in the USA (2003–2013).
Item description
Incidents % Items %
Small leather product 159 33.54 1230 21.94
Shoe 77 16.24 883 15.75
Large leather product 73 15.40 398 7.09
Trim (shoe, garment, decorative) 55 11.60 933 16.64
Garment 49 10.33 232 4.14
Shell product 14 2.95 1629 29.05
Skin (substantially whole) 17 3.59 161 2.87
Skin piece (raw or tanned) 18 3.80 84 1.50
Jewelry 5 1.05 43 0.77
Cloth 2 0.42 2 0.04
Horn carving 2 0.42 2 0.04
Medicinal part or product 1 0.21 7 0.12
Coral (raw, unworked) 1 0.21 2 0.04
Coral product 1 0.21 1 0.02
Products are listed in the form in which they were seized. It is important to note that seized skins could have been intended for production of shoes, garments,
or other goods. This reflects a difference in production location, but there is no way of distinguishing raw versus finished products upon import.
Figure 1. Nof incidents and quantity of items confiscated from 2003 to 2013.
Search trade terms included: belts, clothes, fur products (small), fur products
(large), garments, handbags, leather items, leather products (small), leather products
(large), shoes, spectacle frames, wallets, and watchstraps. The results relate broadly to
all commercial fashion, not only luxury.
Luxury Fashion Wildlife Contraband in the USA
primarily of small and large leather products, shoes, trim,
and garments; these products accounted for 67% of con-
fiscated items. Small leather products were the most com-
monly confiscated good, seized over twice as often as the
next product type. Small leather products included man-
ufactured belts, wallets, and watchbands, while large leather
products included manufactured briefcases, suitcases, and
furniture. Although shell products accounted for only 3%
of seizure incidents, they accounted for the largest number
of items and comprised 29% of items overall.
Linear regression analyses examining the trends of the
imports over the time period examined (2003–2013) re-
vealed significant results for wildlife imported as ‘‘shoe’’
and as ‘‘garment.’’ All other product types were not sig-
nificant, thus, not reported here. Wildlife imported as
‘‘shoes’’ experienced a significant decrease over time, while
significant increases are noted for wildlife imported as
‘‘garment’’ (Table 2).
Concentrations by Wildlife Genera
A total of 49 genera were among the seizures between 2003
and 2013. The top six genera by number of seizure inci-
dents were all part of the taxonomic group Reptilia. These
reptile genera consisted of Python,Alligator,Crocodylus,
Caiman (a genus closely related to alligators), Varanus
(genus of monitor lizards), and Homalopsis (a genus of
freshwater aquatic snakes). Together, reptiles accounted for
nearly 84% of all seizures by number of incidents, and 61%
of seizures by number of items seized. Out of Reptilia,
pythons were the most commonly confiscated, seized 2.3
times more than the second most common genera.
A Lorenz-plot curve in Figure 2more clearly illustrates
the inequality of genera seized. The observed lines repre-
senting incidents and items both significantly deviate from
the line of equality, found at 45°. This line represents
perfect equality of confiscations across incidents and items.
The greater the deviation is from the line of equality, the
greater the inequality of distribution. Upon inspection of
the plots, it can be concluded that a small proportion of
genera account for a large portion of the total seizures. The
Gini coefficient for incidents was 0.75 and 0.80 for items.
This distribution closely matches the 80–20 rule (the Pareto
principle), stating that roughly 80% of seizures are com-
prised of approximately 20% of genera, calculated in terms
of both incidents and items.
Concentrations by Reptile Species
Within the Reptilia genus, six genera accounted for the top
14 species seized by number of incidents, as seen in Fig-
ure 3.Python reticulatus and Varanus niloticus were the
most commonly seized by number of items, each
accounting for roughly 15% of reptilian seizures. Uniden-
Table 2. Linear Regression Results for Wildlife Products.
Variable BStd. error Standardized beta tSig.
Constant 17,222.193 9157.955 1.881 0.097
Year -8.576 4.563 -0.448 -1.879 0.097
Incidents 11.403 3.727 0.729 3.060 0.016
Constant -2626.996 2969.746 -0.885 0.402
Year 1.304 1.480 0.139 0.881 0.404
Incidents 6.853 1.285 0.844 5.334 0.001
Figure 2. Lorenz plot curve of seizure incidents and items by genera.
M. C. Sosnowski, G. A. Petrossian
tified python subspecies (Python spp.) were the third most
commonly seized by number of items at 9%. Alligator
mississippiensis came in second in terms of the number of
incidents and accounted for just over 6% of items. Over
99% of species were recorded as seized due solely to or
partially due to CITES trade violations. Specifically, 47.3%
were seized due to only a CITES violation, while another
36.2% were made due to CITES plus another violation (i.e.,
Endangered Species Act, Lacey Act, Migratory Birds Treaty
Act, Marine Mammal Protection Act, Water Bird Conser-
vation Act).
Linear regression analyses revealed significant results
for six out of the top 14 species seized between 2003 and
2013. For Python spp., Crocodilus niloticus,V. niloticus,
Python molurus,Varanus spp., Crocodylus spp., and all
seizure incidents involved significant increasing trends over
the 11-year period for Python spp., C. niloticus,V. niloticus,
and Varanus spp., and significant decreasing trends for
Crocodilus spp. and P. molurus. When all import incidents
are considered, there seems to be a significant decrease in
the imports over the 11-year period examined (Table 3).
The heatmaps reflect the import dynamics of the top
14 reptile species by items and incidents from 2003 through
2013. Specifically, they illustrate the quantities of each of
the top 14 species imported year to year. When examining
the changes by items seized, V. niloticus and P. reticulatus
stand out as experiencing unique fluxes and overall higher
volumes of seizures. When examining incidents, these same
two species, plus A. mississippiensis, experience noticeably
higher seizure events with varied peaks and troughs. Given
the high counts for V. niloticus as well as P. reticulatus in
regard to both items and incidents, it becomes particularly
clear that these two species face the highest imports overall.
These heatmaps further illustrate the consistencies and lack
thereof by species across time (Fig. 4).
Concentrations by Wildlife Source
Nearly 58% of the seizure incidents made were of wild-
caught species (Fig. 5). The next most common source was
captive breeding. A few genera stood out across these
groups. Namely, 79 Python seizure incidents accounting for
759 items, and 31 Varanus incidents accounting for 694
items, were reported as wild caught. Another 43 Python
incidents, corresponding to 166 items, were captive bred,
and 128 items of Homalopsis were captive born.
Concentration by Country of Export
The 474 seizure incidents involving 5607 items related to
luxury fashion were exported from a total 28 countries.
Figure 6displays the distribution of these countries, as well
as the number of seizure incidents reported from each.
Approximately 75% of seizure incidents were recorded as
exported from six countries, namely Italy, France,
Switzerland, Singapore, China, and Hong Kong. The
majority of seizures were exported from Europe, with three
countries accounting for 56% of all seizure incidents.
Figure 3. Top 14 reptile species seized by Nof incidents and items (2003–2013).
Luxury Fashion Wildlife Contraband in the USA
Additionally, approximately 20% of the exports were from
East and Southeast Asia (namely, Singapore, China, and
Hong Kong). The remaining 22 countries accounted for
between 0.21% and 3.38% of exports.
Concentration by Country of Origin
A total of 32 countries were listed as the countries of origin
for the total of 474 incidents involving 5607 luxury fashion
products. Twelve percent of the incidents reported the USA
as the country of origin, with Vietnam (12%), Indonesia
(9.9%), Malaysia (4%), Thailand (3.6%), Argentina (3.4%),
Venezuela (3%), and China (2.7%), collectively accounting
for over 50% of the incidents. Interestingly, none of these
countries, except for China, were the same as the export
countries. Top exporters, including Italy, France, Switzer-
land, Singapore, and Hong Kong, accounted for only 0.4%,
0.8%, 0%, 0.4%, 0.4% of origin countries, respectively. This
likely indicates that the top exporters may serve as transit
countries for species originating elsewhere. Figure 7a–d
illustrates the relationship of the origin countries to the top
countries of export (i.e., Italy, France, Switzerland, Singa-
pore, China, and Hong Kong—see Sect. 3.6). China and
Hong Kong had extensive missing data regarding the
country of origins, and therefore meaningful maps could
not be made.
Summary of Findings
This study provided an analysis of luxury fashion-related
wildlife seizures made in the USA between 2003 and 2013.
Table 3. Linear Regression Results for Reptile Species.
Variable BStd. error Standardized beta tSig.
Python spp.
Constant -1644.25 1119.18 -1.469 0.180
Year 0.820 0.558 0.250 1.470 0.180
Incidents 4.469 0.980 0.776 4.561 0.002
Crocodilus niloticus
Constant -163.043 473.316 -0344 0.739
Year 0.082 0.236 0.757 0.347 0.738
Incidents 1.00 0.323 0.757 3.094 0.015
Varanus niloticus
Constant -1.63.043 473.316 -0.344 0.739
Year 0.082 0.236 0.085 0.347 0.738
Incidents 72.451 24.274 0.884 2.985 0.017
Python molurus
Constant 649.688 859.514 0.756 0.471
Year -0.323 0.428 -0.243 -0.755 0.472
Incidents 1.830 0.739 0.798 2.475 0.038
Varanus spp.
Constant -457.669 411.976 -1.111 0.299
Year 0.228 0.205 0.195 1.110 0.299
Incidents 2.951 0.617 0.841 4.787 0.001
Crocodylus spp.
Constant 150.508 178.291 0.844 0.423
Year -0.075 0.089 -0.204 -0.844 0.423
Incidents 1.749 0.564 0.748 3.101 0.015
All incidents
Constant 73,535.204 29,829.677 2.465 0.039
Year -36.604 14.863 -0.617 -2.463 0.039
Incidents 7.928 3.789 0.525 2.092 0.070
M. C. Sosnowski, G. A. Petrossian
Luxury fashion importers were identified from seizure re-
cords corresponding to 474 individual seizure events and
5607 items. Overall, the number of luxury fashion-related
seizure incidents appears to have increased over time. The
number of items confiscated, however, has generally de-
creased. This could partially be explained by a known in-
crease in active duty wildlife crime inspectors at US ports
between 2003 and 2013, from 94 to 140, although this in-
crease saw no change in the number of shipments physi-
cally inspected year to year (Petrossian et al. 2016). Other
explanations include better adherence from the brands to
wildlife regulations or a shift away from using wildlife
products in luxury fashion (Bekhechi 2017; Bobb 2018;
Conlon 2017).
Reptiles emerged as the most commonly confiscated
wildlife class by both number of incidents and items.
Genera falling under the reptile class accounted for the vast
majority of seizures, with pythons in particular, standing
out. The identification of most commonly imported genera
can inform law enforcement as to where to focus their
identification efforts, and inform conservationists as to
what species should be regularly examined or more heavily
protected. If pythons are the most common illegally im-
ported species group, canine units, for example, could be-
come better prepared for their detection.
Figure 4. Heatmap of aseized items by species over the examined decade and bseizure incidents by species over the examined decade.
Luxury Fashion Wildlife Contraband in the USA
Although reptiles were the most commonly seized
group, these seizures likely represent a very small propor-
tion of the impact the luxury fashion industry has on
reptile species. The taxonomic class Reptilia contains over
10,000 species, but less than 10% are CITES listed. Only 80
species and 5 subspecies are found on Appendix I, a total of
673 on Appendix II, and 40 on Appendix III (UNODC
2016). Further, the majority of snake and lizard species
have remained within the same appendix under which they
were originally listed; crocodilian species have uniquely
experienced increasing degrees of protection (UNCTAD
2012). The large majority of reptile species remain un-as-
sessed (listed as either data deficient or simply missing from
both databases) (UNODC 2016), and therefore often
unprotected by international or national regulations. Fur-
ther, in the USA, reptiles are excluded from the Animal
Figure 5. Wildlife source of luxury fashion goods by Nof seizure
incidents (2003–2013).
Figure 6. Luxury fashion seizure incident countries of export.
M. C. Sosnowski, G. A. Petrossian
Figure 7. Origin of species exported to aItaly, bFrance, cSwitzerland and dSingapore.
Luxury Fashion Wildlife Contraband in the USA
Figure 7. continued
M. C. Sosnowski, G. A. Petrossian
Welfare Act, meaning they, overall, fail to be protected
within the USA (Animal Welfare Act 1966; PETA 2018).
The majority of the seizures within the examined period
were of wild-caught wildlife. This was interesting to find, as
while captive and commercial breeding operations would be
more likely to produce the intended species for product
production, wild catching would seem to present greater
opportunity for mistaking species, or intentionally catching
similar species, that may be protected by one of the five US
regulatory frameworks. Within this same vein, various
studies have previously uncovered that ranching/farming
facilities, particularly in Asia, often fail to have breeding
operations and are rather used to launder the wild-caught
specimens we find seized at US ports of entry (Lyons and
Natusch 2011; Nuwer 2017; Russo 2014). With East and
Southeast Asia responsible for a significant proportion of
seizure incidents when it comes to both origin and export
countries, this dynamic could contribute to the high pro-
portion of wild-caught species seized at import, as well as
draw attention to potentially undetected pressures on certain
wildlife populations. The volatility of the fashion industry,
ripe with booms and busts due to seasonality and style, has
been noted to make farming a risky economic venture.
Further, this process can be time-consuming; a Burmese
Python, for instance, taking 4 years to reach a har-
vestable length (UNODC 2016). These dynamics may pose
threats to the future of many reptile species in the wild.
By examining both countries of origin as well as
countries of export, it has been possible to demonstrate the
route the majority of luxury fashion products take before
arriving in the US. Given that 12% of seizures originated in
the USA and another 30% originated in Southeast Asia, but
that over 50% of seizures were exported from Europe
(namely Italy, France, and Switzerland), the path the
wildlife takes from its origins to its transit countries before
arriving in the USA becomes illuminated. Harvested in the
USA and Southeast Asia, fashion inputs likely make their
way to Europe for production with fashion houses prior to
being exported to the US market for consumption.
Efforts were made to quantitatively explain the pat-
terns identified regarding the most commonly seized reptile
species. Analyses such as CRAVED
were attempted; how-
ever, significant data deficiency hindered our abilities to
make informed assessments. Attempts at this assessment,
however, shed light on the extent of data deficiency
regarding species that are both legally and illegal traded.
Nearly all of the legally and illegally traded reptile species
were associated with missing or outdated population esti-
mates, and only a fraction had associated species distribu-
tion maps. A significant portion of reptiles were entirely
un-assessed or in need of updated information to inform
IUCN and CITES protection statuses. These deficiencies
not only inherently limited our analysis but also restrict the
ability of conservation bodies and governments to make
informed decisions regarding sustainable harvest for com-
mercial use. We strongly encourage the IUCN and CITES
to formally assess reptile species and set forth protections,
as needed.
This substantial lack of available data surrounding
commercially traded species cannot go unnoticed, and this
status quo is in urgent need of change. Without this data,
international and national protection statuses cannot be
properly established, and the continuation of both legal and
illegal wildlife trade should be considered a potential threat
to the long-term survival of the species. Should data be
collected to address the data deficiency regarding reptile
species, a quantitative analysis examining why some reptile
species are traded more heavily than others is recom-
mended. This could be in the form of a CRAVED or
framework assessment, as previously per-
formed for other wildlife trade studies (Moreto and Le-
mieux 2015; Petrossian and Clarke 2014; Pires 2015).
The LEMIS database is the most comprehensive record of
all wildlife seizures made within the USA. However, various
limitations exist as to its accuracy and use. First, LEMIS, as
well as other such databases, can only be as accurate and
comprehensive as those reporting (Blundell and Mascia
2005). Specifically, various data were missing from the
database and a number of entries were either marked as
unknown or left blank, and the rate of identification
accuracy is unknown among those reporting. While none
of the genera, import/export countries, descriptions, or
The CRAVED model was developed by Clarke (1999) to systematically examine why
some goods are more heavily targeted for theft than others. The acronym, which
breaks down to Concealable,Removable,Available,Valuable, and Enjoyable, has been
applied successfully to a wide range of stolen goods, including those found within the
illegal wildlife trade (Moreto and Lemieux 2015; Petrossian and Clarke 2014; Pires
The CAPTURED model is an expansion of the CRAVED model with specific
applicability to wildlife trade. Developed by Moreto and Lemieux (2015), the acro-
nym stands for Concealable,Available,Processable,Transferrable,Useable,Removable,
Enjoyable, and Desirable.
Luxury Fashion Wildlife Contraband in the USA
quantities importer were missing in this dataset as it per-
tains to luxury fashion seizures, roughly 3.8% of species
and 1.5% of sources (i.e., wild, farmed) were missing.
Within the listed species, however, many were designated
‘‘spp.’’, meaning the inspectors were unable to determine
the specific species. This accounted for nearly 16% of
Further, it is estimated that seizures represent a max-
imum of 10% of all illegal trafficking, the rest remaining
unreported or undiscovered (Stiles et al. 2013). However,
due to the time range of the data and the methods by which
goods are intercepted, it is believed that LEMIS is a pow-
erful representation of wildlife smuggled into the country.
Although limitations exist, this database is the most com-
prehensive available catalogue of wildlife contraband im-
ports. And while it is likely that a large underrepresentation
of the true amount of illegal imports exists, this data can,
nevertheless, be used to represent the general trends in
luxury high fashion product seizures.
Policy Implications
There are yet to be any policies on the use of exotic leathers,
such as reptile leathers, which are the most commonly
seized products, both in terms of incidents and item
quantities. The primary regulation protecting these species
is the CITES (PETA 2018), which solely regulates interna-
tional trade in listed species. The results of this study should
inform the creation of such regulations, which are long past
due. Given the prevalence of exotic leather and fur use in
fashion for centuries, CITES and other regulatory bodies
should enact policies on its use and sustainability in order
to protect wild population, the welfare of farmed and bred
populations, and the sustainability of the fashion industry.
The creation of policy targeting the use of wildlife in luxury
fashion is way to ‘remove excuses,’ and specifically ‘set
rules,’ which have been successful methods of situational
crime prevention. As previously mentioned, these cate-
gories fall within the realm of situational crime prevention,
whose main tenants include increasing the efforts and risks
associated with crime commission, decreasing the rewards
of engaging in crime, as well as both reducing the provo-
cations and removing the excuses of becoming involved in
criminal activity (Clarke 1997). These policy recommen-
dations, along with those below, can be found in Table 4.
Another means by which to ‘remove excuses’ is by
‘alerting conscience.’ A better understanding of illegal im-
ports may also allow for more focused monitoring and
detection efforts by law enforcement. Training can be fo-
cused on the detection of commonly illegally imported
species, and educational campaigns could be used to make
the public more aware of the negative impacts the use of
wildlife in fashion can have on wild populations. These
should be targeted at the US population consuming luxury
fashion goods, as well as the most common countries or
regions of export, specifically East and Southeast Asia.
Further, much can be done from the side of the brands
directly, who can commit to sustainable practices or the use
of faux leathers and furs, as well as work more closely with
CITES management authorities to ensure trade chain
transparency and sustainability. Such increased communi-
cation between global suppliers and national CITES man-
agement authorizes could improve awareness of regulations
and subsequent consequences or facilitate, for instance, a
wildlife product sustainability certification system (UN-
CTAD 2012). Few luxury brands have already indepen-
dently committed to improving the sustainability of their
wildlife products as well as shifting toward faux skins and
furs as an alternative. In 2014, the Kering Group partnered
with the International Trade Center and the IUCN SSC Boa
and Python Specialist Group to form the Python Conser-
vation Partnership, aiming to improve sustainability in the
python trade (Ethical Shopping Guide 2017); however, it
does not plan to stop sourcing wild pythons and has pre-
viously expressed interest in developing its own python
farms (Butler 2018). Kering has also looked into platforms,
such as the Responsible Ecosystem Sourcing Platform
(RESP), which focuses on creating a global traceability
system for species such as the python, connecting the dots
from source to consumer (Russo 2014). Partnerships with
groups, such as the IUCN SSCs, can build valuable multi-
stakeholder platforms that can work to solve industry
problems. In a step further forward, as of 2017, various
luxury fashion companies announced that they would no
longer be using real fur in any of their goods (Bekhechi
2017; Bobb 2018; Conlon 2017; Penrose 2019). Lastly,
falling within the scope of SCP’s ‘discouraging imitation,’
we argue that farmed species should be considered an
imitation of the wild species, as they serve the same pur-
pose, being harvested for their skins or furs that are further
utilized as fashion inputs. When considering means of
‘discouraging imitation,’ we believe that the farming of
species for their skins or furs should be dissuaded.
M. C. Sosnowski, G. A. Petrossian
The luxury fashion industry plays a clear role in the imports
of wildlife contraband. The fashion industry remains the
largest importer of illegal wildlife to the USA and has the
potential to impact the status of wild populations. Both
fashion brands and consumers can play their part in
reducing the trade. While fashion brands can make com-
mitments to end the use of animal fur and skins in pro-
duction, consumers can shift their demand away from
unsustainable wildlife products. In this era, fashion
designers should no longer be ignoring global sustainability
and should be stimulated to do so by consumers. In the
midst of the sixth mass extinction, courtesy of human
activity, fashion needs to be recognized as a ‘want’ not a
‘need.’ Our technology is at a point where faux skins and
furs are regularly produced and available and may fill the
lingering demand for wildlife fashion products. Both
brands and consumers should be investing in improving
these technologies, shifting demand, and conserving Earth’s
wild places. If species are beautiful enough to carry as a
handbag, they should be beautiful enough to let live sus-
tainably and fulfill their ecological roles in the wild.
We would like to extend our thanks to the reviewers who
took the time to thoroughly review this manuscript and
provide recommendations. These were found greatly use-
ful, and we believe strengthened the piece. We would like to
thank Diba Rouzbahani for her help in producing the
heatmap visualizations.
Animal Welfare Act, 7 USC §§ 2131–2159; 18 USC § 49 § (1966)
Bekhechi M (2017) Gucci is finally going fur-free, but many
designers still haven’t—here are the ones you should avoid.
Table 4. Situational Prevention of Illegal Imports of Luxury Fashion Wildlife Contraband into the USA.
Increase the effort Increase the risk Decrease the rewards Reduce provocations Remove excuses
Harden targets
US customs officials
should be more vigi-
lant about inspecting
shipments declared as
luxury fashion that
come from the top
source/risk countries
Reduce anonymity
Encourage brands to
work closely with
CITES management
authorities to ensure
trade chain trans-
parency and sustain-
Use global platforms
(such as the Responsi-
ble Ecosystem Sour-
cing Platform) to
monitor the trade in
species most frequently
used to make luxury
Deny benefits
If a company is caught
shipping illegal luxury
goods that are made of
the endangered spe-
cies, these companies
should be placed on
high alert lists, and
future shipments
should be automati-
cally flagged and thor-
oughly inspected
Discourage imitation
Work with brands (trend
setters) directly to
encourage them to
commit to sustainable
practices by using faux
leathers and furs
Encourage partnerships
between conservation
groups and brands that
aim at improving the
sustainability of the
trade in the species
most frequently used
in the luxury products
Discourage the use of
farmed products,
which it can be argued
are an imitation of
wild species
Set rules
Create policies specifi-
cally targeting the use
of wildlife in luxury
Alert conscience
Promote better under-
standing of illegal im-
ports by training U.S.
customs officials on
how to better detect
commonly imported
species for luxury
Use education cam-
paigns, both in the
USA and the major
source countries to
educate the public
about the negative im-
pacts the use of wildlife
in fashion can have on
wild populations
Luxury Fashion Wildlife Contraband in the USA
Retrieved February 22, 2018, from The Independent UK web-
Blundell AG, Mascia MB (2005) Discrepancies in reported levels
of International Wildlife Trade. Conservation Biology
Bobb B (2018) Donatella versace says fur is over. Retrieved March
20, 2018, from
Brantingham PJ, Brantingham PL (1991) Environmental Crimi-
nology, Long Grove: Waveland Press
Butler S (2018) Gucci owner gets teeth into snakeskin market with
python farm. Retrieved February 22, 2018, from The Guardian
Carrigan M, Moraes C, McEachern M (2013) From conspicuous
to considered fashion: a harm-chain approach to the responsi-
bilities of luxury-fashion businesses. Journal of Marketing
Management 29(11–12):1277–1307.
CITES (2019) What is CITES? Retrieved from Convention on the
Illegal Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora
Clarke RV (1997) Situational Crime Prevention: Successful Case
Studies,2nd ed., Guilderland, New York: Harrow and Heston
Clarke RV (1999) Hot products: Understanding, anticipating and
reducing demand for stolen goods, London: Home Office,
Policing and Reducing Crime Unit, Research, Development and
Statistics Directorate
Conlon S (2017) US fashion brand Michael Kors to stop using
animal fur. Retrieved February 22, 2018, from The Guardian
Damania R, Bulte E (2007) The economics of wildlife farming and
endangered species conservation. Ecological Economics
Ethical Shopping Guide (2017) Retrieved February 22, 2018, from
Ethical Consumer website:
Gillson L (2003) Ivory and ecology—changing perspectives on
elephant management and the international trade in ivory.
Environmental Science & Policy 6(5):411–419
Gini C (1921) Measurement of inequality of incomes. The Eco-
nomic Journal 31(121):124–126.
Kapferer J-N, Michaut A (2017) Is luxury compatible with sus-
tainability? Luxury consumers’ viewpoint Journal of Brand
Management 21(1):1–22.
Karesh WB, Cook R, Bennett E, Newcomb J (2005) Wildlife trade
and global disease emergence. Emerging Infectious Diseases
Ko E, Costello JP, Taylor CR (2019) What is a luxury brand? A
new definition and review of the literature Journal of Business
Research 99:405–413.
Kurland J, Pires SF (2017) Assessing U.S. wildlife trafficking
patterns: how criminology and conservation science can guide
strategies to reduce the illegal wildlife trade. Deviant Behavior
Lyons J, Natusch DJD (2011) Wildlife laundering through
breeding farms: illegal harvest, population declines and a means
of regulating the trade of green pythons (Morelia viridis) from
Indonesia. Biological Conservation 144(12):3073–3081. https://
Mason C, Bulte E, Horan R (2012) Banking on extinction:
endangered species and speculation. Oxford Review of Economic
Policy 28(1):180–192.
Moreto WD, Lemieux AM (2015) From CRAVED to CAP-
TURED: introducing a product-based framework to examine
illegal wildlife markets. European Journal on Criminal Policy and
Research 21(3):303–320.
Newman MEJ (2013) Power laws, pareto distributions and Zipf’s
law. Cities 30:59–67.
Nuwer R (2017) Animal farms in South-east Asia fuel an illegal
trade in rare wildlife. Retrieved February 27, 2018, from The
Independent UK website:
Okonkwo U (2016) Luxury Fashion Branding: Trends, Tactics,
Techniques, London: Palgrave Macmillan
Penrose N (2019) A list of fur-free luxury fashion designers to
shop from. Retrieved from Elle website:
PETA (2018) Exotic skins: the animals. Retrieved February 22,
2018, from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals website:
Petrossian GA, Clarke RV (2014) Explaining and controlling
illegal commercial fishing: an application of the CRAVED theft
model. British Journal of Criminology 54(1):73–90. https://
Petrossian Gohar A, Pires SF, van Uhm DP (2016) An overview of
seized illegal wildlife entering the United States. Global Crime
Pires SF (2015) A CRAVED analysis of multiple illicit Parrot
markets in Peru and Bolivia. European Journal on Criminal
Policy and Research 21(3):321–336.
Rosen GE, Smith KF (2010) Summarizing the evidence on the
international trade in illegal wildlife. EcoHealth 7(1):24–32.
Russo C (2014) Fashion’s love of python comes at a price. Re-
trieved from Fashionista website:
Schneider JL (2008) Reducing the illicit trade in endangered
wildlife: the market reduction approach. Journal of Contempo-
rary Criminal Justice 24(3):274–295.
Soares TC, Fernandes EA, Toyoshima SH (2018) The CO
sion Gini index and the environmental efficiency: an analysis for
60 leading world economies. EconomiA 19(2):266–277. https://
Stiles D, Redmond I, Cress D, Nellemann C, Formo RK (2013)
Stolen Apes: The Illicit Trade in Chimpanzees, Gorillas, Bonobos
and Orangutans, Arendal: United Nations Environment Pro-
gramme, GRID-Arendal
M. C. Sosnowski, G. A. Petrossian
Sun T, Zhang H, Wang Y, Meng X, Wang C (2010) The appli-
cation of environmental Gini coefficient (EGC) in allocating
wastewater discharge permit: the case study of watershed total
mass control in Tianjin, China. Resources, Conservation and
Recycling 54(9):601–608.
Taruvinga A, Mushunje A (2014) Society’s perceptions of African
Elephants and their relative influence towards the conservation
of Elephants. APCBEE Procedia 10:299–304.
TRAFFIC (n.d.) Wildlife trade: what is it? Retrieved December 17,
2018, from
UNCTAD (2012) Improving international systems for trade in
reptile skins based on sustainable use, New York and Geneva:
United Nations
UNODC (2016) World wildlife crime report: trafficking in pro-
tected species. Retrieved from UNODC Research website: http
USFWS (2019) U.S. Conservation Laws. Retrieved from US Fish &
Wildlife Service International Affairs website: https://www.fws.g
van Uhm DP, Pires SF, Sosnowski M, Petrossian GA (2019)
Comparing and contrasting wildlife seizures made at EU and US
entry point. In: Quantitative Studies in Green and Conservation
Criminology: The Measurement of Environmental Harm and
Crime, Lynch M, Pires SF (editors), Abingdon: Routledge
Vasudev S (2016) Exotic skins are not art. Retrieved February 22,
2018, from Live Mint website:
Wortley R, Mazerolle L (2013) Environmental Criminology and
Crime Analysis, Abingdon: Routledge
(2018a) Retrieved February 22, 2018, from Michael Kors website:
(2018b) Retrieved from Bottega Veneta website: www.bottegavene
(2018c) Retrieved February 26, 2018, from Salvatore Ferragmo
(2019) Retrieved from Gucci website:
Luxury Fashion Wildlife Contraband in the USA
... These crimes threaten numerous species with extinction (OECD 2012) and have detrimental effects on human health, food security, and economic stability (Yang et al. 2020;Walmsley et al. 2010). While most research on environmental crime has focused on Europe (e.g., Maher and Sollund 2016;Wyatt 2016), Africa (e.g., Petrossian 2018;H€ ubschle 2017), America (e.g., Sosnowski and Petrossian 2020;Pires and Petrossian 2016), and East Asia (e.g., Phelps and Webb 2015;Cao Ngoc and Wyatt 2013), it is important that research be conducted in the Middle East to examine the extent of environmental crime in this geographic area and the factors that affect it in this unique cultural context. The aim of this study is to understand different types of environmental crime in Iran and to test explanations of their occurrence based on the criminological theories of (a) differential association and (b) neutralization. ...
... It is possible that other theories of environmental crime, such as routine activities theory (Cohen and Felson 1979) and/or the market demand approach (Schneider 2008), would have a greater impact on, and explain more variance of, wildlife crime than the theories of neutralization and differential association examined in this paper. The results of Sosnowski and Petrossian (2020) and Petrossian (2015) show that these theories can significantly explain variance in wildlife crime. ...
Fereydunkenar county hosts millions of migratory birds in the southern parts of the Caspian Sea in the second half of every year. Despite the global prevalence of environmental crime, there is still a dearth of large-scale, empirical analyses of environmental crime in the Middle East. This study compared two well-established criminological frameworks rooted in social learning (neutralization theory and differential association theory) to compare four environmental crimes in Iran: illegal bird hunting, fishing without a license, water pollution, and soil pollution. We surveyed male villagers (N = 400) in the county of Fereydunkenar, which is located in the Mazandaran Province of Iran and hosts millions of migratory birds every year. Variables from neutralization theory (condemnation of the condemners, denial of victim and injury, and appeal to higher loyalty) and differential association theory (frequency of differential association with family and friends, and intensity of differential association) were measured. Approximately 75% of respondents had engaged in illegal bird hunting and nearly 53% of respondents had engaged in fishing without a license. However, water and soil pollution behaviors among the respondents were at low levels. The independent variables explained $53, 20, and 18% of the variance in the variables of water/soil pollution, illegal bird hunting, and illegal fishing, respectively. The frequency of differential association with family and intensity of differential association had the largest influences on illegal bird hunting and illegal fishing. The intensity of differential association, appeal to higher loyalty, and condemnation of the condemners had significant positive effects on water and soil pollution behaviors. Based on our models, we concluded that, compared to neutralization variables, differential association variables had greater effects on numerous environmental crimes in Iran.
... Wildlife plays a key cultural role in certain societies, particularly for its use in traditional medicine (Mardiastuti et al. 2021), arts and crafts (Jiao and Lee 2021), and for spiritual purposes (Boakye et al. 2019). Wildlife products are also found in luxury markets across the world, often procured through illegal market chains; rhinoceros horns are used by Vietnamese businessmen as a signal of their social status (Truong et al. 2016), and reptile skins are used in the fashion industry in the USA (Sosnowski and Petrossian 2020). Living animals are increasingly valued in local, national, and international economies for animal testing in the biomedicine sector (Sivakrishnan and Anbiah 2021), pet trade (Siriwat and Nijman 2018, Altherr and Lameter 2020, Mandimbihasina et al. 2020, and as a niche market in the tourism industry (Mbaiwa 2017). ...
Full-text available
Wild animals are important worldwide because of the multiple values they represent for human societies. Different frameworks have been proposed to understand the values of wildlife from economic and noneconomic perspectives. Despite efforts from different disciplines to provide a holistic framework for the analysis of wildlife values, the focus is still based on the monetary value derived from market prices. Community-oriented approaches to wildlife conservation have an especially strong economic rationale because they depend on the economic costs and benefits that wildlife represents to local communities. However, purely economic approaches ignore that values are subjective and as such are perceived differently among stakeholders according to their social, economic, cultural, and ecological context. The lack of a holistic framework hinders the possibility to provide a clear and practical tool for the resolution of wildlife conservation conflicts and the identification of management options that maximize values. Based on a wide literature review, we propose a comprehensive wildlife value framework (WVF) incorporating the values of wildlife identified in the academic literature into the total economic value (TEV) framework. Costs associated with human-wildlife conflicts are also incorporated as well as subjective perceptions of values based on multidimensional well-being criteria. This work aims to provide a common structure within which different perspectives related to wildlife can be captured to inform multi-actor, multi-objective decision making related to wildlife management.
... There are many wildlife products used in consumer goods that may be illegally harvested. Popular examples are various tree species used for furniture, animal skins and furs used for fashion products, and seafood products sold for consumption [1,134] . Illegal logging and harvesting and illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing present substantial threats to protected species and highlight the need for increased supply chain transparency. ...
Full-text available
The illicit wildlife trade is a pervasive and global problem that has far-reaching impacts on both society and the environment. Aside from threatening numerous species around the world and acting as a potential disease transmission vector for several zoonotic diseases, including the COVID-19 pandemic, this complex system is often linked with other illicit networks such as drugs, weapons, and human trafficking. The annual monetary value of wildlife trafficking is estimated to be over twenty billion USD, and, unfortunately, wildlife trafficking has several unique characteristics that make it difficult to disrupt in an effective and efficient manner. There has been much research and media awareness around wildlife conservation and moral issues surrounding the illicit wildlife trade, but little is known about the supply chain structures and operations of these illicit networks, especially from a quantitative, analytical perspective. This research reviews wildlife trafficking through an operations and supply chain lens. By understanding the unique challenges faced in impeding wildlife trafficking, we present opportunities to resolve them using analytical techniques. We provide the groundwork for future developments in detection, interdiction, reduction, and possibly, elimination of illicit wildlife trade.
... For one thing, fashion industry -including luxury fashion industry-has recently been under heavy criticism for its unsustainable practices, and also for posing threat towards endangered species [5,6,7]. Now that owing to the development of information systems infrastructures, as well as such phenomena as Coronavirus pandemic, social interactions are increasingly being transferred to virtual environments [8,9,10], VL products can take advantage of this trend and help with the sustainability issues of the fashion industry. ...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The increasing integration of Virtual Reality (VR) features into social-networking (SN) environments has provided new opportunities for developing virtual-fashion products. These products are intended to be "worn" either on "real" bodies through Augmented Reality features, or on virtual avatars in gaming environments and the like. These virtual clothes are often worn to show-off status, achievement, and purchasing power in these VR environments. We focused on the emerging category of virtual luxury (VL) products and investigated which consumer segments, based on their personality traits, would be more willing to (partially) switch from physical luxury products to their virtual counterparts in their status-signaling activities through SN posts. We found that consumers with (a) higher self-efficacy regarding SN and VR environment, (b) more positive attitude towards SN and VR environments, (c) higher need-for-status, and (d) higher novelty-seeking motives tend to evaluate status-conveying potential of VL products more positively. Age (negatively) and income (positively) affect such evaluations. Moreover, the perceived status-conveying potential mediates the effect of consumer traits on their intention to switch to VL in their SN posts.
... Rural criminology is essentially place-based and, obviously, focuses on rural locations and populations. These actually face a wide range of environmental crimes (Wyatt et al., 2018), such as the dumping of garbage, soil and air pollution, water theft, land and river 'grabbing', and unauthorized burning to clear land for cultivation (Ceccato, 2015;Sosnowski & Petrossian, 2020). Rural criminology has, however, suffered similar limitations to other areas of specialism within the field of criminology-at least, in terms of Northern or Western scholarship written in English. ...
Full-text available
Environmental pollution is regarded as a major environmental crime in most countries ; Iran is no exception. This study examines water and soil polluting behavior among villagers in Jimabad, Mashhad County-a rural area in the Razavi Khorasan province in the northeastern region of Iran. A survey questionnaire was used to collect data from a random sample of 315 respondents in the population of the villagers of Jimabad. This article reports on the levels of water and soil polluting behavior among the respondents and the results are discussed in terms of techniques of neu-tralization, religiosity and cultural context.
Full-text available
The United States is among the largest markets of both legal and illegal wildlife in the world. Prior studies of wildlife seized at US ports of entry have demonstrated that a small number of flora and fauna species account for a disproportionate share of illicit wildlife seizures and that a select number of entry ports and export countries account for the large majority of these seizures. However, the distributional flow of wildlife entering the US – the patterns of where a particular wildlife originates and the port of entry it arrives at – remains unclear. Using a social network analysis to model 31,270 large-scale trafficking incidents between 2003 and 2012, we found that removing five ports from the network would disrupt over 66% of the illegal wildlife trade by each major mode of transportation (air cargo, mail, personal baggage, ocean cargo). Further, certain ports have emerged as important seizure hubs regardless of transportation modes, such as San Francisco and Los Angeles, while other US entry ports are highly dense and seized most illicit wildlife specifically by one transportation mode. On the exporter side, China, Mexico, and Southeast Asia had an outsized effect on network clusters and should be targeted for network fragmentation and anti-trafficking edu-cation campaigns.
The global wildlife trade dates to antiquity. Recently, its harms to endangered species, animal welfare, and public health have become critical to address. The complexities of the wildlife trade are numerous, including the fact that much of the economic activity is illegal and unobserved. We find that wildlife products are used for sustenance, signaling status, medicine, and entertainment. There is vast heterogeneity in products and species traded. Supply chains extend from biodiverse, low-income regions to richer countries or urban centers. Empirically, we use data findings from the literature to rank countries in terms of intensity of the wildlife trade and identify factors that contribute to wildlife trade. We also identify supply-side and demand-side interventions that can control abuse in wildlife trade. Innovative techniques for observation, econometric analysis, and enforcement are sorely needed to support effective policies to preserve the world's wildlife. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Resource Economics, Volume 14 is October 2022. Please see for revised estimates.
Full-text available
Poaching and illegal trade are primary threats to tigers (Panthera tigris). Trade in tiger parts has been well documented in Asia. However, little is known about tiger parts entering the United States (US). We analyzed seizures of tiger parts trafficked through US ports of entry from 2003 to 2012 along with shipments that had been issued legal Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species import permits. We found 292 seizure incidents and 283 permitted imports over that 10-year period. The amount of tiger parts trafficked into the US illegally was larger than what has been previously reported. Most tiger parts entered the US legally and illegally for personal purposes; 81.8% of seized items were medicinal products. San Francisco, Dallas, and Atlanta were entry hotspots for illegal tiger imports which mainly entered the United States from China and Vietnam. Of the 65.8% of seized parts with a known origin, 99.5% originated from wild tigers. Since country of origin and source of many legally and illegally traded tiger parts was unknown, we recommend the use of forensic DNA analysis to address these knowledge gaps to focus conservation and enforcement efforts. Research should continue in the United States to adequately capture the global supply, demand, and trade of tiger parts.
Full-text available
O quarto volume desta obra é dirigido para aqueles que precisam das informações essenciais e atuais sobre a saúde das diversas espécies animais, bem como o seu bem-estar, abrangendo diversas áreas da medicina veterinária e zootecnia. Procuramos fornecer os fatos clínicos mais importantes, assim como estratégias de manejo animal para uma maior efetividade e produtividade proveniente do bem-estar animal. Nós oferecemos nesta obra uma apresentação baseada em trabalhos realizados na patologia animal, patologia clínica, clínica médica, reprodução e produção animal, genética e bem-estar, tanto nas espécies domésticas como nas espécies silvestres. Os diversos trabalhos publicados nesta obra relatam da importância do bem�estar animal, o acometimento de espécies não domiciliadas com patologias majoritariamente urbanas, manejo animal e revisões de literatura atuais sobre diversos assuntos da clínica médica para auxiliar em um melhor entendimento e conduta clínica do médico veterinário, afim de promover uma melhor qualidade de vida aos animais e proporcionar um maior conhecimento sobre a prevenção, controle e diagnóstico dessas doenças. Esperamos que este volume seja útil a todos os que estejam à procura de uma literatura concisa sobre a saúde animal e, consequentemente, seu bem-estar como base para estudos médicos veterinários e áreas afins que corroboram com o tema.
Full-text available
The luxury sector thus far has received scant attention from sustainable development activists and watchgroups. Yet, this focus is changing. Even if other sectors may be more relevant to the cause of sustainability, luxury brands that have gained intact reputations for sustainability must take care to maintain it. Therefore, the present research investigates the level of sensitivity of actual luxury buyers to the cause of sustainable development, insofar as it concerns the luxury sector, luxury brands and their purchases. Do consumers’ attitudes towards sustainability spill over to their opinions about the sustainability of luxury itself, or is luxury a world apart? The findings show that luxury buyers have ambivalent attitudes, such that they consider luxury and sustainability somewhat contradictory, especially with regard to the social and economic harmony facet of sustainable development.
Full-text available
The aim of this study was to analyze the CO2 emission Gini index and the environmental efficiency for 60 leading world economies, in 2010. We consider the technological heterogeneity dividing the sample into similar groups, and estimating environmental efficiency indicators into metafrontier and group frontiers. Despite the fact that pollution concentration is more prominent in developed countries, the results showed that this group is more efficient. On the other hand, lower-income group, and mediumtechnology countries present the worst indicators. We could conclude that the inefficiency observed in developed countries group was attributed to mismanagement, while in the developing countries group the inefficiency could be related to technological differences.
Full-text available
The current study analyses seizures made at US ports of entry between 2003 and 2013, with the aim to identify concentrations of illegal wildlife imports into the United States. Findings show that 94% of species seized belong to six groups – mammals, molluscs, birds, reptiles, fish and coral – with mammals and reptiles making up more than half of all seizure incidents. Additionally, most seized wildlife is imported as leather products, medicinal products and as meat. The majority of seizures emanate from six countries, and illegal wildlife is primarily brought to the US via airline baggage. Temporal trends of wildlife seizures point to increases in the seizures of all groups of species, with the exception of birds. Based on these findings, we recommend using situational crime prevention techniques at US ports of entry to reduce opportunities that enable this trade.
Full-text available
Previous research examining the illegal wildlife market has primarily centered on actor- or stage-based approaches. Recent research has highlighted the value of examining the unique characteristics that make wildlife products suitable targets. Specifically, these studies have examined the concealable, removable, available, valuable, enjoyable, disposable (CRAVED) nature of wildlife hot products, particularly during the initial taking or poaching stage. However, these characteristics are not necessarily static and can change throughout the course of a product’s progression through the illicit market. Depending on the stage, the specific elements of CRAVED may also fluctuate in relevance and importance. In this paper, we examine the utility of the CRAVED model in examining wildlife products of their progression through illegal markets. We argue that although the model is useful in examining specific aspects of the illegal wildlife market, it may be limited in its ability to account for the unique characteristics and nuances of wildlife products. Due to this we introduce a new framework we refer to as concealable, available, processable, transferrable, useable, removable, enjoyable, desirable (CAPTURED) that adapts and extends the original CRAVED model. We discuss the potential utility of the CAPTURED model in examining illegal wildlife market, as well as implications of the new framework for theory and policy.
The United States and the European Union are major demand markets for illegal wildlife worldwide. The current study analyzes wildlife contraband seizures made at US ports of entry with those made in the EU during a similar time period in order to identify concentrations of illegal wildlife imports with regard to products, places of import and export, time, and transportation mode. Findings show that the majority of seizures involve wildlife products instead of live animals, and these include high numbers of reptile and mammal species. The major source countries of illegal wildlife are countries in Southeast Asia. Based on the findings, policy recommendations can be made that suggest how, when, and where resources can be better allocated to combat the illicit wildlife trade in two of the largest demand sources of wildlife products in the world.
In spite of considerable prior research on luxury branding, no widely accepted definition of "luxury brand" exists. The purpose of this paper is to review the literature in order to: a) summarize the state of knowledge on luxury brand marketing; and b) provide a new and usable definition of a luxury brand. A literature review was conducted with a focus on developing a more useful definition of "luxury brand," outlining key theoretical perspectives that have been used in this area, and summarizing key research findings. Ko and Megehee's (2012) framework for understanding consumption of luxury brands is used as the guiding conceptual framework for the review. Directions for future research are provided.
Illegal wildlife trade is among the most profitable transnational crimes in the world. In the U.S. fewer than 330 agents from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services are tasked with inspecting 72 air and seaports to intercept illicit wildlife products. This paper suggests a risk assessment strategy that utilizes analytical techniques from criminology to wildlife contraband entering the U.S. Using the LEMIS database, 40,113 incidents of seized wildlife products from 2003 to 2012 were identified. Results suggest a disproportionate share of export countries, ports of entry, times and genera account for a majority of incidents. Resource allocation should be prioritized accordingly.