Monique Sosnowski
Monique hiking dunes to Sossusvlei in Namibia while working in Namibia on conservation research Author: Les Sosnowski
2024

Monique Sosnowski

Wildlife Crime and Security Analyst

seeking global wildlife crime solutions

meet monique

Monique is a wildlife crime and security specialist who merges her expertise in crime prevention and analysis with field conservation efforts. With nearly a decade of research experience focused on wildlife crime, her work has spanned the ecosystems of Africa, Latin America, Europe, Central Asia, and the High Arctic. With each project, Monique aims to integrate academic insights into practical field operations and policy to ensure they are evidence-based and effective. Her work is reflected in her over two dozen academic articles, reports, and book chapters, alongside a co-authored book on African security and politics in Benin. Monique holds an MSc in Global Wildlife Health and Conservation and a PhD in Criminal Justice. She is currently an Assistant Professor at  SUNY Farmingdale in New York. 

seeking global wildlife crime solutions
Nominated by: Milbry Polk, MED' 95
Class of 2024 Location USA
Follow monique's work:
Monique and her father, Les, at Xarakai airstrip in Botswana in the Okavango Delta while working on elephant deterrent and big cat detection studies
Monique and her father, Les, at Xarakai airstrip in Botswana in the Okavango Delta while working on elephant deterrent and big cat detection studies

The dynamic relationship between humans and wildlife has held my attention since I stepped onto  the Galapagos Islands as a United States student ambassador in seventh grade. Nearly twenty years later I have found myself pioneering research in a field that examines the nuances of this  relationship: wildlife and environmental crime.  

The plight of endangered species is one of the most widespread and daunting threats to our global  ecosystems – we are losing species at a rate of up to 10,000 times the background extinction  rate, alongside the lives of nearly 1,000 wildlife in the past decade defending these same species.  These loses are due almost exclusively due to anthropogenic activity, which includes the illegal  exploitation of wildlife. The impact of wildlife exploitation – or wildlife crime – stretches beyond the  ecological realm. It threatens national security, hinders the economic growth of nations, and  facilitates the spread of zoonotic diseases. 

Collaborating with colleagues from institutions around the world – from  India to the Netherlands, Kyrgyzstan, to South Africa – we have the opportunity to learn from  one another, exchange ideas, and broaden the impact of our research.

- Monique Sosnowski
Monique’s expedition set up while performing research on elephant deterrents and big cat detection in Botswana
Monique’s expedition set up while performing research on elephant deterrents and big cat detection in Botswana

Given the applied focus of my research, I make efforts to translate my research into digestible, policy- and public-oriented content. Aside from teaching courses on environmental crime, I strive to spread the impact of my work through media exposure. To date this has included features by PBS Nature, National Geographic, Vogue Magazine, among others. I also published an op-ed in Mongabay with the goal of stimulating public action to positively impact impending U.S. policy changes – such as the passing of the Big Cat Public Safety Act by the U.S. House of Representatives (2022), which revised the restrictions relating to big cat ownership.

I am incredibly eager to continue pioneering research in the field of wildlife crime. As of 2024, my upcoming projects include fieldwork in South Africa to understand the experience of female wildlife rangers, completing my work on the relationship of Inuit communities with wildlife trade (which I undertook as a Young Explorer with The Explorers Club), and an exploration of the extent to which terrorist activity intersects with wildlife poaching and trafficking.

never stop exploring

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE CLASS OF 2024

VIEW THE EC50 2024 PRINT PUBLICATION