The way in which people perceive and tackle the ivory trade needs to be addressed as an organised crime rather than a conservation issue, which involves facilitating the coordination of data and intelligence from both a forensic and a crime perspective. The collaboration of multiple intelligence forms, with the ability to assign the geographical provenance of ivory using DNA, would allow the detection of vital crime routes. 

Photo by cosmin4000/iStock / Getty Images

Photo by cosmin4000/iStock / Getty Images

Wildlife dna databases

Assignment methods using DNA can be used to identify poached wildlife, suggest the geographical location of a poaching incident and help to highlight the trafficking routes of the trophies. As such, this method can be used as a crime reduction tool to help detect and therefore reduce the poaching levels across Africa. Without this geographical information, attempts to reduce this form of crime may have limited impact or alternatively, may not be targeted effectively and thus mean that resources are not used efficiently.

 

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CSI ranger training

The Government of Kenya passed the Wildlife Conservation and Management Act in 2013 with tough penalties for perpetrators of wildlife crime, particularly trafficking of ivory and rhino horn. This has increased the threshold of evidence required to sustain a case in court, as well as making it increasingly difficult to convict suspects. As such, the need for reliable scientific evidence in court that can be presented with reference to a robust database is paramount.  Specialised personnel training particularly for the first responders, prosecutorial and judicial officers is required to effectively prosecute wildlife offenders. Wildlife Traxx Consultancy is collaborating with Kenya Wildlife Service forensic scientists in order to establish standard field based procedures and offer training for the first responders on crime scene management, biological sample collection, preservation and submission following the requisite chain of custody procedures mandatory to secure convictions.