Fines for Illegal Trade of Wild Fauna: A Difficult to Impose Sanction in Colombia?


  • Natalia Ramírez-Zamudio


This research aimed to identify the causes of the low imposition of fines on the illegal trade of wild fauna in Colombia, and to identify how much of the responsibility falls on the current methodology that Colombian environmental authorities must use to calculate these fines (i.e., “Methodology for the Calculation of Fines for Infringement of the Environmental Normative”). For this purpose, a survey was applied to public officials belonging to Colombian environmental authorities.

The results revealed that these entities have several reasons for not imposing fines on the illegal trade of wild fauna. The most important cause is the fact that the referred methodology does not serve the purpose of estimating fines on this illicit activity, since its variable “Degree of environmental affectation” was not designed to be calculated on fauna. This impossibility of calculating fines on the illegal trade of wild fauna has generated two types of behaviors in Colombian environmental authorities: 1) some have refrained from imposing fines on this illicit activity (thus impeding a deterrent effect); and 2) others have modified the methodology (thus breaching the principle of legality), in order to be able to the calculate the fines in the case of this illicit activity. Therefore, given that neither of these two behaviors is suitable, this research calls for the Government of Colombia to enact a new or modified methodology to calculate fines for environmental infringements that adjusts to the characteristics and environmental affectations of the illegal trade of wild.

Biografía del autor/a

Natalia Ramírez-Zamudio

MSc in Conservation and Use of Biodiversity, Pontificia Universidad Javeriana (Bogotá, Colombia). Specialist in Environmental Law, Universidad del Rosario(Bogotá, Colombia). Environmental Engineer, Universidad de los Andes (Bogotá, Colombia).      






Artículos de investigación