Consulting and Training

Leave Them Wild specializes in unique and proven ethnographic methods to gather empirical evidence, or to provide the knowledge and tools for organizations to perform field investigations themselves.

We offer consulting services for all types of wildlife crime-related research, working with NGOs, governments, scholars, and journalists to assist other organizations and/or individuals understand the nature and complexity of the specific crime they are trying to fight. With expertise in project development, fieldwork, and data collection, understanding and synthesizing large quantities of data, and developing conclusions and reports based on findings (specialization in qualitative methods, including NVivo software), we can facilitate the entire research design process.

Wildlife crime is not a singular phenomenon; the details influencing the poaching and trafficking of wildlife vary significantly between countries and species, as do the potential solutions. A one-size-fits-all solution, or a solution that worked in one context, may not work in another. Although globally wildlife crime-related issues vary greatly, our proven methods are applicable to most situations. Information on a specific problem must first be gathered before tailored solutions can be found. We have expertise in answering many of the following types of wildlife crime-related questions:

  • What type of wildlife product(s) are in demand? (e.g., live products, medicinal derivatives, decorative goods, etc.)
    historical fluctuations
  • Methods of poaching? (e.g., snares, guns, poisoned bait, etc.)
  • Variables that influence each stage in the supply chain (e.g., does illegal logging facilitate access to a forest to poach?)
  • How the socio-political, economic, and cultural factors influence the illegal trade
  • Who is involved in each stage of the supply chain, from poacher to consumer
  • Motivation of those involved (poachers and smugglers often have different motivations)
  • What defines an organized crime and is the network in question fit that criteria?
  • Details about each stage in the supply chain, including location details about the flow of products, how products are transported, and important hubs
  • What pinch points or weak leaks in the illegal network should be targeted for intervention measures to produce the desired outcome?
  • What policy interventions would most likely work in a specific context?

We have expertise in concepts, theoretical perspectives, methodologies, and proven methods to understand deviant behavior and wildlife crime. Our knowledge base includes:

  • Defining wildlife crime
  • Political, social, cultural, and historical processes influencing the illegal trade
  • Variations of products and patterns in the illegal wildlife trade
  • Links to other illegal markets
  • Defining types of corruption
  • Theoretical perspectives on poaching motivations
    • Typologies for poaching behavior
    • Normative perspectives
      • Differential association theory
      • Neutralization techniques
      • Anomie
      • Subcultural theory
    • Instrumental perspectives
    • Rational choice theory
    • Deterrence
    • Defiance theory
    • Routine activity approach
  • Environmental criminology
    • Crime scripting
    • Situational crime prevention
  • Green criminology
  • Qualitative research design
    • Social/cultural context
    • Multi-sited ethnography
    • Cultural criminology
    • Edge ethnography

If your organization is looking to do fieldwork, we will assist with every aspect of preparation, including:

  • Methods (i.e., interviewing, participant observation)
  • Potential risks and how best to prepare for them
  • What you need to do before fieldwork
  • Importance of a pilot project
  • Ethical considerations
  • Importance of a gatekeeper
  • Importance of key informants
  • How to begin the interview process
  • How to mentally prepare to be in the field
  • Important things to do when in the field