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November 30, 2006
Dener Giovanini (Brazil) has designed a citizen-based network to fight the third largest illegal business in the world, animal trafficking. He incorporates Internet communications into a start-to-finish system that saves animals' lives, brings criminals
to justice, and provides new employment opportunities to rural traffickers.
Dener Giovanini has created the National Network Combatting Wild Animal Trafficking (A Rede Nacional de Combate ao Tráfico de Animais Silvestres), or RENCTAS, to curb and ultimately stop animal trafficking in Brazil by addressing the problem at all levels
and including all relevant actors. Perhaps the most distinctive aspects of Dener's work are the focus on training programs for those low-income individuals who make a living by producing the animals for the phenomenally lucrative trade, and the degree to which
he creates partnerships among people who would not ordinarily be in contact with each other. To that end, RENCTAS effectively links individuals and organizations to solve all aspects of the problem together: animal protection groups and veterinarians are linked
to government officials who have seized the animals from the traffickers; individuals and organizations who want to report trafficking are linked to the government's environmental agency and the Public Prosecutor's Department.
Dener's comprehensive approach includes: 1) an urgent response and care system for the animals who are seized by government officials; 2) training programs to provide alternative employment to those involved in animal trafficking; 3) a reporting system for
those who want to report instances of trafficking; 4) training of police officers and customs agents in how to deal with animals that are seized; 5) efforts to improve and enforce environmental laws to provide greater protection for animals vulnerable to trafficking;
and 6) a campaign to educate the public about the damage animal trafficking will cause to the environment, and to raise awareness among consumers in an effort to eliminate the market for trafficked animals.
Ashoka Fellow Dener Giovanini has built a 60,000 person movement served by a powerful Internet investigative and tracking capacity that has thrown Brazil's $3 billion hugely destructive and unforgiving trade in wild animals (90 percent die en route) onto
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