The vast ‘army’ of personnel employed across the globe in humanitarian and relief operations provide a ready-made pool of potential buyers of wildlife and related products; the same applies to UN peacekeepers and military personnel.
Given that the average age of military personnel is between 18 and 26 they are often unaware of the illegal nature of some wildlife items and unaware of the impacts of wildlife trade on biodiversity.
Surveys in 2008 held in Fort Drum, New York state, found that more than 40 % of the soldiers had either seen wildlife products or had bought them in Afghanistan. Fewer than 12% of those surveyed had heard of CITES or any other protection legislation, while inspections of Afghan bazaars on United States military bases between 2007 and 2009 found many products suspected of being derived from endangered species, including the pelts of snow leopards and other cats, on hats and clothes, or bits of ivory and bone inlaid on the handles of souvenir knives. Jasper Humphreys, Marjan Centre