Extensive collaboration and cooperation at inter-agency level, is a key ingredient in fighting wildlife trafficking law enforcers agreed at the conclusion of a training workshop to increase their capacity and expertise in fighting wildlife crime.
The workshop which began on Monday in Naivasha, Kenya was hosted by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) in partnership with the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS).
The 18 participants are officers stationed at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) from Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), Kenya Revenue Authority’s (KRA) Customs Department, Kenya Police Service, Kenya Aviation Authority (KAA) and, the Directorate of Immigration. They were trained in identification and detection of wildlife species and trophies, identification of wildlife smuggling and concealment techniques, exhibit handling and management, and; the wildlife trade status of species under CITES.
“Given the prevailing levels of wildlife crime globally, there is a need to improve the capacity for collaboration amongst law enforcement agencies through information sharing. Fighting wildlife crime requires concerted efforts involving pooling financial, human and information resources. We must share intelligence and collaborate to effectively fight the ever-increasing sophistication in wildlife crime,” noted James Isiche Regional Director for IFAW East Africa in a speech read on his behalf by Steve Njumbi Head of Programs IFAW East Africa.
“Many species of animals are illegally poached to supply the global demand for luxury trinkets and possession of live wildlife as pets. This alarming situation calls for an inter-agency collaboration which has been well demonstrated through this training. To stem wildlife trafficking, this collaboration needs to extend beyond this week and continue even after the participants return to their workstation,” he added.
Wildlife trafficking is one of the world’s most lucrative criminal activities – valued at billions of US dollars annually. It ranks in the top most lucrative transnational organized crimes, behind drug trafficking, money laundering and human trafficking.
In the last 20 years, IFAW has held over 140 capacity building workshops focused on detecting and deterring wildlife crime training over 6,000 officers in Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Oceania, and the Caribbean. Trainings are held in collaboration with national institutions in the respective countries.