Wildlife crime poses a major threat to wild fauna globally. International treaties and laws seldom provide effective solutions. The campaign 'Denuncia Pública General de Casos de Fauna Silvestre en Cautiverio' (General Public Complaint Against Captive Wildlife), in short Denunciafauna, ran from April 2014 to April 2017 as an experiment to empirically assess the capacity of Peruvian wildlife authorities to address animal trafficking. We used a political ecology activist research framework, where the campaign is part of research examining on-the-ground responses to complaints and opportunities for collaboration with civil society.During the campaign we collected information on 179 cases of wildlife crime involving animals, from which 214 official complaints were made. These cases involved thousands of illegally held and traded individuals. The official complaints included the illegal possession of animals at tourist attractions,in private homes, markets, circuses, street vendors, and as part of initiatives authorized by the State. Forty-four per cent of the complaints did not result in any type of intervention by the wildlife authorities. In a further 26% of cases we, the complainants, have not been informed of the results of the complaint. Thirty per cent of complaints resulted in the confiscation of all or some of the animals involved, but only 7% of all reported cases led to an official investigation by the public prosecutor, and of these, only 3% (7cases) resulted in a court appearance with a sentence given or pending. We describe 'typical' cases which illustrate some of the quantitative results.These quantitative results, cases presented, and participative observation methodologies were used to examine the main limitations of wildlife authorities in Peru. Chronic deficiencies have consistently resulted in the very limited responses of Peruvian wildlife authorities to attend to official complaints and their inability to provide efficient and proportionate responses to wildlife crime, and, in some cases, to even promote or participate in illicit activities. However, pressure and support from civil society can significantly improve authorities' performances.
Keywords: Wildlife trafficking, impunity, environmental crime, corruption, activism, Peru
How to Cite:
Shanee, N. & Shanee, S., (2021) “Denunciafauna – A social media campaign to evaluate wildlife crime and law enforcement in Peru”, Journal of Political Ecology 28(1), p.533-552. doi: https://doi.org/10.2458/jpe.2987