A unique hybrid nonprofit organization
EAL is a unique and innovative nonprofit organization that merges the worlds of intelligence, investigations, and conservation in service of wildlife, the environment and the people who protect it. At the core of our work is information gathering and intelligence.
It is our contention that professionally run intelligence and investigative activities are currently the most important tools for fighting environmental crime, especially wildlife crime. The intelligence-led approach is needed to integrate the more traditional “reactive” conservation models with a more proactive, impactful, and disruptive approach.
As with the fight against other international threats, such as terrorism, drug trafficking or organized crime, intelligence should be at the center of our efforts to fight wildlife crime. It is, and should be used as, a strategic resource to focus investigation and law enforcement activities, policy changes and funding.
Information gathering activities, intelligence production and undercover operations are exceedingly cost effective methods of tackling environmental crimes. HUMINT, or HUMan INTelligence, and other forms of intelligence, if used with a strategic long-term vision, can also lead to the reduction of what is now called the “militarization of conservation”, the violence that surrounds environmental crimes, with its very high human toll.
Professionally run intelligence and investigative activities are the most important tools we have against wildlife crime. Intelligence is the knowledge – ideally the foreknowledge – that our organization and partners must have to safeguard wildlife and people, and respond to very concrete threats to the environment and to us all.
Our team and network of collaborators include professionals who have been working in the intelligence and investigation fields for decades, mostly for top governmental agencies and special operations.
The use of undercover techniques is essential to the detection, prevention, and prosecution of environmental crime, especially wildlife trafficking crimes and other related offences of priority investigation. Initiation of investigative undercover activity regarding the criminal conduct or criminal enterprise is an effective means of obtaining evidence and necessary information on the criminal activities of case targets.
As a lean, highly-focused NGO employing intelligence as its primary approach to combatting environmental crime, EAL leverages a few advantages over governmental agencies and larger NGOs, including:
The ability to quickly allocate resources to identified targets and hotspots
Access to people and resources that would never collaborate directly with local governmental entities within certain countries
The ability to deliver confidential information, including detailed case files, regarding criminals and wildlife criminal networks to trusted individuals within a government agency, more easily bypassing potential bureaucracy and corrupt officials
How we use intelligence
We collect information and produce actionable intelligence, we build networks of collaborators in the field, we research the ‘modus operandi’ of the organizations behind illegal trafficking, we target the individuals and organizations that are profiting from poaching of wildlife and the illegal trade, and when possible, we share intelligence with trusted law enforcement agencies.
The information that we collect from various sources and through different means is used to feed our investigative projects, launch new information gathering activities, better understand the players, and when possible, facilitate the arrest and prosecution of the individuals behind wildlife crimes. We also share information with other organizations and select law enforcement agencies through our Confidential Intel Briefs (CIBs).
EAL is currently operating in several Eastern and Southern African countries, Latin America, South East Asia, China and Hong Kong.