Demand for animals vastly outstrips availability. There are simply not enough rhinos, elephants, tigers and countless other creatures left to satiate humanity's cravings for them as jewelry, pets, traditional medicine, meat, trophies and more. Experts warn that a host of species—some beloved to the public, others, like the pangolin, virtually unknown—could be extinct in nature within the next decade.
Though illegal wildlife trade is among the largest contraband markets in the world, compared to drugs, arms or human trafficking, the war on poaching—if it can even be called such—is vastly underfunded and unacknowledged. Traffickers operate with impunity, thanks to rampant corruption and a lack of resources and support for those actually committed to policing wildlife crimes.
Science journalist Rachel Nuwer takes readers on a narrative journey to the frontlines of the illegal wildlife trade where individuals ranging from scientists to Buddhist monks believe it is not too late to stop the impending extinctions. This is the story of the people who believe this is a battle that can be won, that our animals are not beyond salvation.