Laundering of Illegal Wild Fauna in Mexico: Case Study of a Pair of Desert Monitors Varanus griseus griseus (Daudin, 1803)

  • Diego Jimenez-Bustamante
  • L. Paulina Díaz Rentería
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Green Criminology book series (PSGC)


One of the main wildlife trafficking strategies in Mexico is the laundering of illegal specimens in the legal pet market. The persistence of laundering is a significant operational failure of the wildlife management authorities that enforce laws, rules, and regulations. To illustrate this we examine a particular case of laundering of specimens of Varanus griseus griseus (desert monitor), a non-native Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) Appendix I species, which is highly endangered in its range (North Africa and Middle East) by the substantial reduction of its habitat and due to the capture of specimens for the black market. Mexico’s current regulatory framework for trade and exploitation of wildlife cannot be effective if the operation of the institutions responsible for enforcing such laws fails to address laundering.


  1. Alvarado, E. (2014, April 17). Tráfico de animales en México; crimen ignorado por el gobierno Revolución. Medio Ambiente Section. Mexico Consulted on: 3rd October 2016.Google Scholar
  2. Arroyo-Quiroz, I. (2010). Developing countries and the implementation of CITES: A case study of Mexico in the international reptile skin trade (p. 306). Müller: VDM Verlag Dr.Google Scholar
  3. Baker, L. W. (2015). Animal rights and welfare: A documentary and reference guide. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO.Google Scholar
  4. Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). (2017). Text of the convention. Available at: Accessed 4 Sept 2017.
  5. Del Claro K., Oliveira, P. S., & Rico-Garay, V. (2009). Tropical biology and conservation management. Volume III: Zoology, 376.Google Scholar
  6. Diario Oficial de la Federación. (2008). Decree for which Article 60 Bis-2 is added to the Wildlife General Act. Diario Oficial de la Federación, 14.Google Scholar
  7. Fitzgerald, L. A., Painter, C. W., Reuter, A., & Hoover, C. (2004). Collection, trade, and regulation of reptiles and amphibians of the Chihuahuan Desert ecoregion. Washington, DC: TRAFFIC North America, World Wildlife Fund.Google Scholar
  8. Huffman, J. E., & Wallace, J. R. (2012). Wildlife forensics: Methods and applications. Hoboken: Wiley-Blackwell.Google Scholar
  9. Iñigo-Elías, E. E., & Ramos, M. A. (1991). The psittacine trade in Mexico: Neotropical wildlife use and conservation. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  10. Kasterine, A., Arbeid, R., Caillabet, O., & Natusch, D. (2012). The trade in South-East Asian python skins. International Trade Center. Available at: Accessed 1 Sept 2017.
  11. Lazcano, D., Mendoza-Alfaro, R., Campos-Múzquiz, L., Lavin-Murcio, P. A., & Quiñónez-Martínez, M. (2010). Notes on Mexican Herpetofauna 15: The risk of invasive species in northeastern Mexico. Bulletin of the Chicago Herpetological Society, 45(7), 113–117.Google Scholar
  12. Lyons, J. A., & Natush, D. (2011). Wildlife laundering through breeding farms: Illegal harvest, population declines and a means of regulating the trade of green pythons (Morelia viridis) from Indonesia. Biological Conservation, 144, 3073–3081.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Oldfield, S. (Ed.). (2003). The trade in wildlife: Regulation for conservation. London: Earthscan Publications.Google Scholar
  14. Pernetta, A. P. (2009). Monitoring the trade: Using the CITES database to examine the global trade in live monitor lizards (Varanus spp.) Biawak, 3(2), 37–45.Google Scholar
  15. Rosenberg, M. (2011). Mexico makes major raid on exotics animal traffickers. Reuters Environment. Available at: Accessed 3 Oct 2016.
  16. SEMARNAT (The Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources). (2006). Reglamento de la Ley General de Vida Silvestre. Regulations published in the DOF (Diario Oficial de la Federación). Last amended 09-05-14.Google Scholar
  17. Shepherd, C. R., Stengel, C. J., & Nijman, V. (2012). The export and re-export of CITES-listed birds from the Solomon Islands. Kuala Lampur: TRAFFIC Southeast Asia.Google Scholar
  18. Skinnider, E. (2011). Victims of environmental crime: Mapping the issues. Vancouver: The International Centre for Criminal Law Reform and Criminal Justice Policy.Google Scholar
  19. Trade Records Analysis of Flora and Fauna in Commerce (TRAFFIC). (2008). What’s driving the wildlife trade? A review of expert opinion on economic and social drivers of the wildlife trade and trade control efforts in Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR and Vietnam. Washington, DC: East Asia and Pacific Region Sustainable Development Discussion Papers. East Asia and Pacific Region Sustainable Development Department, World Bank.Google Scholar
  20. Vincent, K. (2014). Reforming wildlife law: Proposals by the Law Commission for England and Wales. International Journal for Crime, Law and Social Democracy, 3(2), 67–80.Google Scholar
  21. White, R. (2008). Crimes against nature. Environmental criminology and ecological justice. Devon: Willan Publishing.Google Scholar
  22. Wyatt, T. (2013). Wildlife trafficking: A deconstruction of the crime, the victims, and the offenders. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Yom-Tov, Y. (2003). Poaching of Israeli wildlife by guest workers. Biological Conservation, 110(1), 11–20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Diego Jimenez-Bustamante
    • 1
  • L. Paulina Díaz Rentería
    • 1
  1. 1.UNAMMexico CityMexico

Personalised recommendations