An innovative initiative shows how environmental law could help protect endangered species – including against illegal wildlife trade.
An international team of scientists, lawyers and economists is proposing the new use of environmental liability lawsuits to deal with illegal nature trade. These processes could be held accountable by natural traders for the damage they cause – not only to individual plants and animals, but also due to the cascading effects on species survival, human well-being and ecosystems.
They launch a guide to pioneering civil lawsuits for harm to endangered species, and a website www.conservation-litigation.org that explains how an innovative, science-based process could offer new hope for endangered species. The guide is accompanied by a short animated film, Pongo the Stolen Orangutan: How a Law Can Be Healed, which describes the history of an illegally caught orangutan, and how a conservation process could help mitigate the damage caused by illegal traders.
“Across the world, we use fines and prison sentences to punish natural crimes, but they do little to restore biodiversity,” explains Dr. Jacob Phelps, lead author based at the Lancaster Media Center. “It’s time to stop focusing only on punishment, and do more to heal the damage caused by savage crime. This is a significant opportunity for conservation.”
The new guide explains how to develop processes in wildlife cases aimed at ordering responsible parties to undertake actions such as species conservation, public apologies, animal rehabilitation and environmental education. “From a conservation science perspective, these kinds of actions are necessary responses to illegal trade in wildlife, but they are rarely undertaken,” adds Dr. Taufiq Purna Nugaha of the Research Center for Biology, Indonesia Institute of Sciences.
The team of conservation scientists, lawyers, economists and artists from the UK, Indonesia, the US, Brazil, Israel, Spain and India are preparing to work with environmentalists to ensure the guide leads to conservation actions on the ground.
Many countries around the world allow these processes. However, they are not yet widely used in most countries, nor to address key challenges such as illegal nature trade.
Practitioners often do not know how to use this legislation. “Indonesia has started using civil lawsuits against agricultural companies that illegally clear forest by burning. However, this is still a new approach, and it has not yet been widely used to protect endangered species,” explains Roni Saputra, a lawyer at Indonesia. NRO, AURIGA Nusantara. “Lawyers, scientists, environmentalists and judges have not seen such cases yet.”
Dr Carol Adaire Jones, a visiting expert at the Environmental Law Institute, adds, “Environmental liability laws are already important for dealing with large-scale pollution in many countries, with courts ordering responsible parties to clean up the pollution, restore injured remedies and compensate for these guidelines. explains how we can apply similar methods to solving damage from illegal wildlife trade. “
“It’s time to start new conservation strategies,” argues Dr. Phelps. “Our network is willing to work with others to build lawsuits against high-level savage criminals.”
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Visit www.conservation-litigation.org for more information.
Granted by Lancaster University
Quote: New guideline for pioneering conservation processes to protect wildlife (2021, April 20) taken on April 20, 2021 from https://phys.org/news/2021-04-guideline-lawsuits-wildlife.html
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