All Creatures Great and Small - Plundering Latin America's Wildlife

ENVIRONMENTAL CRIME / 14 MAY 2021

Wildlife trafficking goes deeper than commonly understood.

Deeper under the sea in Honduras where sea cucumbers are fished by the ton to feed demand in Asia. Deeper into Colombia's hinterlands where the donkey population has plummeted, their skins sold to make gelatin in China. Deeper into Peru's turtle hatcheries and Mexico's crocodile farms, where specimens intended to help restore populations in the wild are being trafficked all the same.

This investigative series was carried out in conjunction with American University’s Center for Latin American and Latino Studies (CLALS).

Chapter 1

Donkey Skin Trafficking on Colombia’s Northern Coast

CHINA AND CRIME / 14 MAY 2021

When hundreds of skinned donkeys appeared on Colombia’s northern coast without explanation, locals -- and later authorities -- started asking questions. The answer, as it was many of these wildlife…

Chapter 2

The Illegal Sea Cucumber Trade in Kaukira, Honduras

ENVIRONMENTAL CRIME / 14 MAY 2021

Both banks of the salty canal near the town of Kaukira show e vestiges of the boom-bust nature of life in this area. A pair of abandoned, two-story buildings lie…

Chapter 3

Can Crocodile and Turtle Farms Reduce Mexico's Eco-Trafficking?

ENVIRONMENTAL CRIME / 10 JUN 2019

Government-regulated crocodile and turtle farms have helped reduce illegal hunting and protect endangered species, but the illicit trade continues.

Chapter 4

Peru's Turtle Traffickers Operate Under Veneer of Legality

CHINA AND CRIME / 14 MAY 2021

The taricaya turtle conservation program in northern Peru has been heralded as bringing an endangered species back from the brink of extinction while protecting millions of hectares of rainforest from…

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