Over four and a half years, the Google.org-funded Wildlife Crime Technology Project (WCTP) provided WWF a platform to innovate and test a number of innovative technologies, many of which have the potential to change the course of the global fight against wildlife crime.
Fishing feeds billions of people and is vital to the economies of countless coastal communities. But unsustainable practices litter the ocean with deadly traps that needlessly kill marine mammals, turtles, and seabirds.
Abandoned, lost, or discarded fishing gear, commonly referred to as ghost gear, contribute significantly to the problem of plastic pollution in our ocean. These gillnets, traps, and other types of fishing gear are particularly harmful because they can continue to catch target and non-target species indiscriminately for years. This impacts important food resources as well as endangered species. Because of this, ghost gear has been coined as the most deadly form of marine plastic debris, damaging vital ocean habitats, aquatic life, and livelihoods.
By taking samples of soil, water, snow, or even air, we can access the environmental DNA (or eDNA) that animals naturally shed—like hair, skin, and feces—as they move through their environment. eDNA can then be used to detect endangered species, study the impacts of climate change, alert us to invisible threats such as pathogens, and assess the overall health of aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems.
Namibia is home to an array of wildlife, from ostriches and zebras roaming the gravel plains to penguins and seals chilling in the Atlantic currents. It was the first African country to incorporate protection of the environment into its constitution. With WWF’s help, the government has reinforced this conservation philosophy by empowering its communities with rights to manage and benefit from the country’s wildlife through communal conservancies.
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