On the case: identifying corruption by reviewing wildlife crime court cases in Southern Africa
Thoroughly investigating corruption in a wildlife crime court case can disrupt organized criminal groups to a greater extent by potentially identifying higher-level individuals for investigation, arrest, conviction, and appropriate sentencing. Corruption is one of the most important facilitators of the illegal wildlife trade (IWT), and its effects can be seen in every stage of the IWT chain. IWT often involves sophisticated, well-funded, and organized criminal groups that can operate particularly successfully by involving officials in corruption. Those officials facilitate the IWT by abusing their entrusted power, either due to pressure or to privately gain from the crime. Catching and prosecuting lower-level poachers or dealers, without targeting higher-level individuals, is therefore likely to have minimal impact against IWT.