Wildlife forensics training in Africa highlighted at Zambia meeting
Lusaka, Zambia, 26th November 2019—more than 50 wildlife forensic scientists from 14 countries across Africa joined colleagues from Europe and North America for the fifth African Wildlife Forensics Network this week in Lusaka to exchange news of the developments in tackling wildlife crime.
During the meeting, participants heard at first-hand about the success of an initiative funded by the People’s Postcode Lottery (PPL) to support training of wildlife enforcement officers in three countries in southern Africa—Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Malawi.
Thanks to expert training from scientists based at the TRACE Wildlife Forensics Network in UK, together with specialists from the Netherlands Forensic Institute, newly trained Zimbabwe enforcement officers have been able to gather evidence for presentation in court at ongoing wildlife crime cases.
As part of the People’s Postcode Lottery supported work, last month, 14 police officers and 14 National Parks staff took part in a training workshop on wildlife forensics at Matopos National Park, organised with the Victoria Falls Wildlife Trust. Training provided a combination of theory and practical tuition in the collection of forensic evidence.
To put the theory into practice, participants were put through their paces in wildlife crime scene investigation, with mock poaching incidents and poisoning scenes to attend.
“The confidence inspired through the Wildlife Crime Scene Investigation training at Dwala Lodge last month has inspired confidence in our work and we look forward to training of the other Wildlife Intelligence Officers so we can all move forward together,” said Amos Gwema, Principal Intelligence Officer with Zimbabwe Police Force.
The People’s Postcode Lottery project on wildlife crime forensics is implemented by TRACE in partnership with TRAFFIC.
About TRACE Wildlife Forensic Network
TRACE Wildlife Forensics Network is an international NGO, based in Edinburgh, that aims to promote the use of forensic science in biodiversity conservation and the investigation of wildlife crime. The TRACE network brings together forensic scientists and enforcement agencies to exchange information on the latest challenges facing wildlife law enforcement and modern techniques for tackling them.www.tracenetwork.org
Professor Rob Ogden is Director of TRACE, and Chair in Conservation Science at the University of Edinburgh, where he holds the positions of Director of Conservation Science and Head of Conservation Genetics at the Veterinary School and the Roslin Institute.
About the People's Postcode Lottery
People's Postcode Lottery manages multiple charity lotteries (also known as society lotteries). Players play with their postcodes to win cash prizes, while raising money for charities and good causes across Great Britain and globally. A minimum of 32% goes directly to charities and players have raised £282 million to date for good causes across the country. For further information visit: www.postcodelottery.co.uk