Today, the world of conservation awakes to a tragic reality – efforts in the last 30 years have not been efficient enough to block the increasing killing machine that feeds the insatiable appetite for ivory and wildlife trophies.
Albeit great efforts, unquestioned devotion and sacrifice, we are seeing an increase in poaching in some of the most protected areas in the world. The reason for this situation is clear, the criminal incentives are too strong, and the criminals are well equipped, highly connected and extremely motivated.
Wildlife Crime, like poaching, trafficking in live or dead endangered animals or illegal logging, is a complex phenomenon where a variety of factors interact – cultural, social, economic and environmental – and often involve different actors. The causes and the consequences of wildlife crime vary among countries, areas and local societies, but it always threatens the existence of many plant and animal species.
Wildlife Crime is the 4th largest transnational crime in the world, worth an estimate US$ 17 billion annually!
For most countries, combating wildlife crime is unfortunately not a priority and almost always remains overlooked and poorly understood.
Governments and NGOs are occasionally successful in their local anti-poaching and anti-trafficking activities. However, we must face the fact we are not winning this war and time is against us. The need for an increased law enforcement approach to conservation arises focusing incisively at the root of the problem using methods that were proven to be efficient in the war on drugs and terrorism. In this increasingly difficult environment one can find cooperating governments and inspirational leadership, dedicated wildlife services and their servicemen and women, it is within this sphere that we operate
Anti-poaching and anti-trafficking activities are critical to control the ongoing massacre on the ground in most African countries. Unfortunately the majority of the African wildlife crime law enforcement agencies are poorly prepared to confront the highly trained criminals and paramilitary groups that poach elephants and other wildlife like apes, monkeys, big cats and birds.
The Elephant Action League is involved in several field projects throughout Africa and we constantly raise funds to be able to provide support, equipment, consultancy and training to local organizations and wildlife law enforcement agencies.
Among other projects we collaborate with PAMS Foundation in Tanzania (anti-poaching and anti-trafficking), Conservation Justice in Gabon (anti-trafficking) and GALF in Guinea Conakry (anti-trafficking), actively supporting with funds some of their activities.
Click here for more information on our projects.
In the pictures, anti-poaching training activities in Ruaha National Park, Tanzania (Photo credit: EAL)
In the second picture, EAL co-founder Mr Andrea Crosta, with Wayne Lotter and Krissie Clark of PAMS Foundation, in charge of the training project, and instructor Martin Mthembu.