Protecting Threatened Wildlife in Africa with Technology and Training

A forum hosted by World Wildlife Fund, The Richardson Center for Global Engagement and African Parks

Illegal wildlife trade is a global security issue with destabilizing effects on communities, governments, economies and wildlife. The poaching crisis in Africa has reached unprecedented levels, with more than 30,000 African elephants slaughtered last year alone. In just ten years, 62% of Africa’s forest elephants have been lost.

The most recent analysis by the Elephant Trade Information System (ETIS) shows illegal trade in elephant ivory to be at its highest level in two decades. While long-term policy and demand reduction efforts are essential to addressing this crisis, there is an urgent need to support the capacity of rangers, law enforcement and wildlife managers to protect wildlife populations under threat of poaching. Emerging efforts to enhance wildlife protection capabilities include piloting advanced technologies to provide real time situational awareness for boots on the ground to detect and deter poaching incidents.

In an effort to provide useful feedback on technology options and effective training approaches to the conservation community, WWF, the Richardson Center for Global Engagement and African Parks teamed up for a one-day informal review of promising technologies and possibilities for their wider implementation. Experts from research and development, government, law enforcement and the non-profit and private sectors were invited to discuss their specific experience with emerging technologies and training, and to explore whether these present alternative, scalable, and affordable applications for protecting endangered wildlife.