Cooperation is key to success. In an increasingly globalized world, the decisions and actions taken in one sphere have great potential for impact in another. Coordinated work across areas, departments and borders to identify key programs and avoid duplication can ensure best efforts are being made to bring poaching down to zero.
Enforcement efforts are most effective when complemented by intelligence-led investigations that go beyond sporadic seizures to systematically uncover linkages in the illegal wildlife trade. The most widely used tool, i2 Enterprise Intelligence Software, has proven incredibly useful for tracking criminal organizations and participants. Compiling information from investigations, raids, profiling, and informants into intelligence packages that guide enforcement efforts is a cost-effective use of limited resources.
Cooperation and actionable intelligence sharing between a country’s law enforcement agencies has been noted as one of the key factors driving improvements in protection for a number of conservation areas in recent years. For example in Nepal, where Zero Poaching has been achieved, a wide variety of ministries including the military take degrees of responsibility for preventing poaching operations. The Wildlife Crime Control Bureau of India is a model example of how governments can establish multi-disciplinary bodies to combat organized wildlife crime.
INTERPOL refers to a multi-agency network as a National Environment Security Task Force (NEST) which is designated to address common goals through collaborative strategic response. A NEST is made up of nominated experts from wildlife agencies, police, customs, NGOs and includes experts in investigations, intelligence, prosecutors, and the National Central Bureau with support from INTERPOL’s Environment Security sub-directorate.
The South Asian Wildlife Enforcement Network (SAWEN) and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations – Wildlife Enforcement Network (ASEAN-WEN) are the main organizations for law enforcement cooperation across regions in Asia. These organizations assist member states in protection efforts through provision of tools and methods for information sharing, addressing cross-border wildlife crime and distributing best practices.
For large-scale operations, cooperation is needed to extend even beyond a region to the global level. Intergovernmental organizations such as INTERPOL, CITES, UNODC, WCO and a number of other agencies provide opportunities to further integrate experiences and responses to transnational poaching activities within a region. For example INTERPOL provides a secure communication network for 190 member countries to transmit intelligence and enforcement information 24/7 via the national central bureaus in each country. Organizations with broader thematic bases such as UNEP, IUCN and the CBD (among others) provide useful technical knowledge and should not be overlooked by those tasked with crafting anti-poaching strategies.