Poaching is one of the most serious threats to wildlife in Asia and Africa, with too many forests devoid of the loud calls of gibbons, ecosystem engineering of Elephants, and the quite stalking of Tigers. Those that are left are often isolated, poorly protected, and hold the last wild populations of some of the most endangered species in the world. Illegal wildlife trade is the fourth largest black market, and feeds directly into criminal and terrorist networks, which may fund other illegal activities.
At Global Wildlife Conservation, our approach to combatting wildlife crime is multi-faceted. In 2016, GWC became the newest member of the SMART Partnership. SMART, or the Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool, helps wildlife rangers and managers around the world track and analyze illegal activities they observe during patrols. The data helps them identify and address crime hotspots, ultimately benefiting threatened species such as Saola, Okapi, Elephant, Tiger and even turtles.
GWC’s Walter Steven Sechrest Endowment for Wildlife Protection protects endangered wildlife through anti-poaching efforts and by supporting wildlife rangers in parks around the globe. The endowment was established in honor of Lieutenant Colonel Steven Sechrest, late father of GWC Chief Scientist and CEO Wes Sechrest. Steve protected the innocent throughout his life, and his legacy lives on in support of the world’s wildlife.
To provide the most effective tools to individuals enforcing anti-poaching laws. SMART helps bridge the gap between the sophistication of those involved in the illegal capture and trade of wildlife, and the number, skill level and motivation of wildlife authorities. SMART launched in 2013 and is now in its third release, which can be used for biological monitoring, fire monitoring and other protected area management needs in addition to law enforcement monitoring. The software is free, open source and up to date in 10 different languages.
To effectively engage with communities living with wildlife and around important areas for biodiversity, and to turn them into effective guardians of wildlife. GWC views communities as powerful allies in the conservation of biodiversity and strives to work with them to solve the problems that prevent them from being wildlife guardians.
To meet a Zero Loss goal for species such as the Saola. This means preventing poaching of any animals in GWC’s target areas—a lofty goal. GWC is part of the Zero Poaching partnership, which aims to provide governments and conservation organizations with a suite of best practice tools to holistically address the issues of poaching and trafficking. Useful tools and approaches exist across the Zero Poaching framework; a systematic approach to addressing all parts of the solution to poaching.
To improve park management in the most important sites for biodiversity around the world. Achieving zero poaching starts with good management. GWC is part of the Conservation Assured partnership, which is developing global protected area management standards. GWC strives to raise the level of protected area management effectiveness in all the sites where we work.
To provide training and support to rangers on the front lines. Rangers put their lives on the line, and their family life on hold, to protect the natural world. The much quoted International Ranger Federation statistic of 1,000 rangers killed in the line of duty over the past decade is horrific, but only starts to scratch the surface of the situation. Rangers receive little support, little training and are paid very little for a service that is vital to the future of biodiversity on our planet. For example, 42 percent of countries that employ rangers on temporary contracts do not provide any insurance benefits. GWC, with our partners, is committed to increasing ranger training, and improving their working and employment conditions. Check out the preliminary findings of a survey asking rangers about their insurance options here.
The illegal wildlife trade
is the fourth largest black market in the world
Africa and Asia