IMG_0621 ecooper at CoP 16 Glenn Sant photo
Ernie Cooper (centre) attending CITES CoP 16 in Bangkok, Thailand as part of the TRAFFIC delegation (March 2013). Photo by Glenn Sant, used with permission.

Ernie Cooper, the owner of E. Cooper Environmental Consulting, is a graduate of the University of Victoria and has worked in the field of international wildlife conservation since 1988. He is a leading Canadian authority on wildlife trade, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), and the identification of wildlife products.

Ernie is an Associate of the Centre for Forensic Research and Adjunct Professor for the School of Criminology, Simon Fraser University; a member of the IUCN Species Survival Commission (Sustainable Use and Livelihoods Specialist Group and the Spider & Scorpion Specialist Group); and a member of the Society for Wildlife Forensic Science.

From 2001-2014, Ernie was the Canadian National Representative of the TRAFFIC Network—the wildlife trade monitoring program of WWF and the IUCN—and the Director of the WWF-Canada TRAFFIC & Wildlife Trade program. For 13 years he was responsible for monitoring Canadian wildlife trade and its impact on Canadian and international conservation; advising stakeholders on wildlife trade issues; liaising with Canadian authorities; and assisting the TRAFFIC network’s global efforts to ensure that wildlife trade is not a threat to the conservation of nature.

Fried insects for sale, Bangkok, Thailand. Copyright Ernie Cooper 2013.

Ernie is a veteran of four Meetings of the Conference of the Parties (to CITES) and has participated in several CITES working groups.  In Canada Ernie has worked closely with stakeholders from government; academia; Inuit groups; non-governmental organisations; and industry. He has advised Fisheries and Oceans Canada on conservation issues as a member of the Tuna Advisory Board (TAB); Groundfish Integrated Advisory Board (GIAB); Marine Conservation Caucus (MCC); and Abalone Recovery Implementation Group (AbRIG).

Prior to joining TRAFFIC and WWF, Ernie was a Canadian Federal Game Officer and was Environment Canada’s first Wildlife Inspector. Between 1988 and 2001 Ernie conducted inspections of more than 4,000 shipments of wildlife and wildlife products; identified more than 250,000 listed animals, plants and products for the enforcement of CITES; and provided training on CITES, international wildlife trade and the identification of wildlife products to more than 800 officers from Canada, USA, Mexico and Taiwan.

In addition, Ernie has more than a decade of experience as a lab and field technician working on projects in fisheries management, marine biology and forestry assessment and silviculture.