Mobile trailers a significant boost in efforts to investigate remote wildlife crimes
Agencies in Northern Cape, Eastern Cape and KwaZulu Natal receive mobile forensic units to help curb wildlife crime.
Pretoria, South Africa, 20th February 2018—Representatives from South Africa’s Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) based in Northern Cape, Eastern Cape and KwaZulu Natal today received mobile trailers with everything needed to carry out detailed forensic wildlife crime scene investigations in even the remotest of locations.
The trailers were purchased thanks to funding from the United States Department of State’s Bureau of International and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL), under a TRAFFIC-implemented project entitled “Cutting Wildlife Trafficking Off at the Source: Strengthening Capacity to Investigate and Combat Trans-National Wildlife Crime in and from South Africa.”
Speaking at the handover ceremony in Pretoria, TRAFFIC’s Marcel Kroese said: “One of the key factors hindering effective wildlife crime scene investigation is the inability to access remote parts of the country with the appropriate equipment.”
“The provision of these trailers will now make this possible, meaning vital evidence can be secured to ensure successful prosecution of those perpetrating crimes against South Africa’s wildlife populations.”
The self-contained mobile trailer units come with built-in power supplies, a supplementary electricity generator to power floodlights for night-time work, a refrigerator to keep samples cold, built-in water tanks and ample storage space for all the equipment needed for forensic evidence collection.
“On behalf of DEA, I am delighted to receive these state-of-the-art mobile forensic units that will enhance our collective ability to investigate the poaching of iconic wildlife species and bring the perpetrators of wildlife crime to book,” said Sonja Meintjes Director of DEA.
The lack of suitable equipment to collect evidence in remote areas had previously been highlighted during discussions with the National Biodiversity Investigators Forum and the DEA.
“The US State Department is proud to support efforts to boost the capacity of wildlife crime officials in South Africa as part of our commitment towards the international efforts to stamp out the scourge of wildlife poaching and the associated crime that undermines the fabric of society,” said Mr Alan Tousignant, the Minister Counselor for Economic Affairs, based at the US Embassy in Pretoria.
The handover took place at a ceremony held at the National Zoological Gardens in Boom Street, Pretoria, with representatives from Lynnood Trailers; DataScout Equipment; DEA, TRAFFIC, NZG, Northern Cape Province , Eastern Cape Province, KwaZulu Natal Province, in attendance.