Law Enforcement

Law enforcement has become one of the key mitigation tactics to tackle wildlife crime and requires intelligence-led initiatives and the deployment of trained individuals with the resources and equipment to face well-armed poachers and trafficking gangs. Not only is this key to intercepting and stopping poaching activities but it is also a highly effective deterrent.

Wildlife crime, an illegal $19 billion industry, has become one of the major drivers of species extinction in the last several decades. Through the over exploitation of nature’s most rare and endangered fauna and flora, 1,000,000 species have become threatened with extinction at unprecedented levels of decline. Whilst criminal syndicates and individuals continue to help themselves to the environment’s most precious and finite resources, our planet’s wildlife will continue to be threatened.

Why do we need law enforcement to protect endangered species?

The world’s wildlife faces a grave threat; being slaughtered and traded for their parts and derivatives to satisfy human greed and consumption. Whether ivory or rhino horn, tiger parts or pangolin scales, the illegal wildlife trade has become a multi-billion-dollar industry and threatens the very survival of our planet’s most vulnerable species.

In 2017, the Great African Elephant Census revealed huge declines in savanna elephant populations with an estimated 144,000 elephants killed across 15 African countries between 2007 – 2014 alone. 8,889 African rhinos have been lost to poaching in the last decade and wild tiger populations have plummeted by 96% in less than a century. So why do we need law enforcement?

Without the hard and continual efforts of law enforcement agencies and wildlife rangers fighting against wildlife crime and the syndicates who fuel it we may see the extinction of hundreds of thousands of species within our lifetime.

How does DSWF help to fund law enforcement?

David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation (DSWF) has been funding law enforcement programmes in Africa and Asia for over 35 years. Our ground-based conservation partners are dedicated and professional organisations with a deep understanding of the landscapes in which they operate.

Our support builds the capacity of law enforcement networks across our conservation portfolio and includes welfare support and the training and professional development of rangers fighting on the front line of conservation.

DSWF also provides wildlife ranger teams with essential equipment and resources to protect endangered species.

FIGHT: DSWF are proud to have funded undercover investigations into some of the world’s most prolific and high-profile wildlife trafficking syndicates which help inform government agencies on how to best dismantle and stop these illegal activities. 

We have provided unwavering support to law enforcement initiatives in light of difficult and often dangerous wildlife crime landscapes and will continue to tackle not only the black market trade but those driving species ever closer to extinction.

PROTECT: DSWF work to protect some of the most vulnerable and affected species, landscape and people most affected by wildlife crime. 

We work with communities to ensure they have alternative income streams, which halts the need to turn to illegal wildlife crime activities. We also support the wildlife rangers who go up against well-resourced criminal poaching and trafficking gangs and we provide protection for the wild landscapes and protected areas needed to sustain these vital wildlife populations.

ENGAGE: By working with our longstanding and trusted partners, who are operating underground to dismantle illegal criminal wildlife networks, we can help provide vital information to government agencies to best inform their strategies.

ART FOR SURVIVAL: Support from artists in exposing life on the frontline. By engaging with all aspects of governments and civil society we help provide training against illegal wildlife activities and pass on information which will ultimately lead to the identification, arrest and successful prosecution of some of the world’s most active wildlife criminals.

We work with a number of artists and creatives who help us capture the lives of the rangers on the front line of wildlife crime.

By using visual works through photography, video and art, we can help bring the harsh realities and challenges that front-line conservationists face to light, in a thought provoking and visual medium.

The power of successful video campaigns and advertisements can also be used to successfully remind people of the danger of driving, buying or engaging in illegal activity, something DSWF has long supported.

What are some of the challenges that law enforcement faces?

Where legal trade exists, law enforcement agencies, often under-resourced and under-funded, struggle to manage, maintain and distinguish between what is a legally sourced product and one resulting from illegal activity.

By ending the trade in endangered and threatened wildlife products we simplify the solutions, making the wildlife product illegal and therefore easier to police.

The grey spaces created by sanctioned trade and legal loopholes make it increasingly difficult for law enforcement specialists, rangers and police agencies to manage and disrupt. 

The growing sophistication of wildlife criminals, aiming to evade capture and prosecution, means they are well armed, well-resourced and have the ability to move quickly across borders and continents. 

Greater cooperation and attention are needed, by all stakeholders, to tackle environmental crime, something which DSWF is fully committed to in all aspects of its work.

£38 could ensure a Ranger has a lifesaving field first aid kit, including tourniquet & first field dressing.