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Research Projects & Activities at the Centre of Criminology

Environmental Security Observatory (ESO)

The Environmental Security Observatory (ESO) is a joint initiative of the Centre of Criminology, the Global Risk Governance Programme, also at UCT, and the Global Initiative against Transnational Organized Crime. Its objective is to undertake rigorous independent social sciences research that will form the basis for sound evidence-based interventions to reduce environmental crimes. The key research question asks how illegal and legal global wildlife economies operate. We also study:

  • how criminal actors and local communities are incentivised to participate in illegal wildlife economies;
  • the impacts that military and security measures and tactics have on local communities;  
  • how different segments of wildlife supply chains are interlinked; and
  • how demand is factored into value and supply chains for illegal wildlife economies.

Once we gain a better understanding of wildlife trade that is damaging/beneficial to ecological systems, we will develop evidence-based policy research that identifies the most appropriate leverage points to disrupt illegal wildlife economies and strengthen legal ones. Of particular interest are local communities, livelihoods and reward systems; and, how their behaviour shapes/is shaped by illegal and legal wildlife economies.

















Recent Publications



Hübschle, A. (2016). Security coordination in an illegal market: The transnational trade in rhinoceros horn, PolitikonAvailable here.

Hübschle, A. (2016).The social economy of rhino poaching: Of economic freedom fighters, professional hunters and marginalized local people, Current Sociology, Available here.

Hubschle, A. 2016. A Game of Horns: Transnational Flows of Rhino, Studies on the Social and Political Constitution of the Economy, Cologne: International Max Planck Research School on the Social and Political Constitution of the Economy, Available here.

Shaw, M. & Rademeyer, J. 2016. A flawed war: Rethinking “green militarisation” in the Kruger National Park, Politikon 

Hübschle, A. 2016. Security coordination in an illegal market: The illegal trade in rhinoceros horn, Politikon