The University of Veterinary Medicine Budapest is hosting a conference on wildlife criminology, addressing critical issues related to environmental conservation and the criminal activities impacting wildlife. This conference aims to explore the interconnections between biodiversity loss, climate change, and human activities, with a specific focus on illegal actions affecting the natural world.
One of the most pressing issues of our time is environmental protection. The decrease in biodiversity, climate change, and the interconnection with human activities are closely linked. Activities that harm the environment also include illegal actions affecting wildlife. Effectively addressing such crimes, investigating, proving them, and holding the perpetrators accountable are often challenging, but undoubtedly in our common interest.
Veterinary examinations and modern forensic techniques, such as genetic analysis, are crucial for investigating crimes. These investigations help identify committed acts and facilitate holding perpetrators accountable. However, wildlife crime has its own characteristics, including the diversity of offenses. The complexity of on-site investigations, lack of necessary expert knowledge, and poorly funded laboratories and databases often complicate the investigation.
While the trade of endangered species is not currently prominent in Hungary, direct exploitation of wildlife, such as poaching and illegal fishing, unfortunately, remains significant. Hungary has a historical tradition of sports hunting, which poses undeniable challenges in preserving the integrity of hunting in our times. It is difficult to estimate the latency in such types of crimes. In general, concerning human actions harming animals, it is challenging to draw a clear line between ethically condemnable, legally prohibited, and criminally sanctioned acts. Therefore, we recommend involving experts when suspicion arises.
Hungary is a region with significant natural values, rich fauna and flora, making it crucial in terms of wildlife conservation. Fortunately, public opinion regarding poaching has become increasingly negative in recent years. However, we must understand that trespassing into protected natural areas for agricultural purposes is also a significant act of environmental damage, wasting our shared values.
An integrated approach, encompassing criminalistics, biology, ecology, and law, is crucial in combating wildlife crime. Prevention, continuous training of relevant professionals, capacity building, and strengthening the legal framework collectively lay the solid foundations for the conservation of our national natural treasures.
The speakers at this conference shed light on the fact that, although we may not think about it as laypeople, all these crimes collectively can impact the biological security, economy, and national security of the country where they are committed. Effective action, therefore, not only aids in preserving natural values but can also contribute to dismantling local and cross-border illegal networks.