Dener José Giovanini : Co-Winner 2003

The US$20 billion-a-year illegal trade in animals, plants and their products is the world’s third largest criminal activity, surpassed only by weapons and drug trafficking. Because of its immense biodiversity, Brazil has become a favorite target for wildlife traffickers. Every year, about 38 million Brazilian specimens are smuggled from their habitats and sold on the international market. This illegal trade is driving many species towards extinction. Nine out of ten animals never reach the final consumer. They die during capture and transport.

In 1999, the environmentalist Dener Giovanini created RENCTAS—the Brazilian network to fight the trafficking of wild animals. RENCTAS has significantly changed attitudes among Brazilian society and the government about this problem. The subject of animal trafficking used to be rarely raised among the Brazilian people. Nowadays it is regularly featured in the media. In just four years, Giovanini has built a network that comprises 600 affiliated organizations and about 39,000 registered individuals. He receives an average of 150 e-mails a day.

RENCTAS has developed a number of activities throughout Brazil, such as police training, animal ransom schemes, educational campaigns, scientific research and the publication of numerous books and reports. Since its creation, RENCTAS has trained more than 2,500 Brazilian environmental agents.

In spite of constant death threats, Giovanini remains firm in his goal of preventing illegal animal trafficking. Information published by RENCTAS has pushed the Brazilian government to create a federal investigation committee to analyze the problem and to introduce proposals to solve it.

RENCTAS’ success has awakened interest across the globe, and the RENCTAS model is being emulated in several South American countries. Because of its strong cooperation with the Brazilian government, RENCTAS was able to convene the first meeting of Interpol directors of South America. This meeting has created a bridge between NGOs, police departments and governments to fight the illegal trade in wild species throughout the continent.

Contact Address:

Dener José Giovanini
RENCTAS – Brazilian Network to Fight the Trafficking of Wild Animals
SQN 215. BLOCO J. APTO. 503
Brasilia. DF. Brazil
Tel: (55-61) 368 8970
Fax: (55-61) 368-8970
ext # 24
Email: dg@renctas.org.br
Homepage: http://www.renctas.org.br