n Servamus Community-based Safety and Security Magazine - Conservation crime in perspective - why are reptiles getting a raw deal?

Volume 109, Issue 9
  • ISSN : 1015-2385


It is common cause that conservation crime issues are not uniformly reported by the mass media. Reporting cannot be regarded as a mirror on reality, but rather a prism through which the news media cover the forms and expressions of conservation crime and victimisation that they deem newsworthy. They empathise with some victims while "blaming" others. Greer (2004), in fact, states that it is only those cases featuring a particular type of victim (natural resource) that will attract sustained media attention and collective outcry - think of the current rhino poaching pandemic in South Africa. Reptile poaching, although just as serious, seldom, if ever, makes the news. This is a clear indication that the media undervalue the long-term risks from environmental/biodiversity damage and that the danger can come from an unlikely source such as reptile destruction. The mainstream media underreports such crimes and the seriousness of such violations. However, a collapse in this realm will not bode well for the future of the human race (Herbig, 2003, 2010).

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