Global Investigation Group Takes Aim at Wildlife Traffickers
Bangkok, THAILAND (September 17, 2012) Over 30 law enforcement officers from Asia, Africa and the United States are gathering this week in Bangkok to conduct joint training and operational planning aimed at dismantling criminal syndicates responsible for the ongoing slaughter of elephants, rhinos, tigers and other endangered species. The five day confidential session, held at the International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA), introduces new information and technology that will facilitate cross-border investigations into poaching gangs, traffickers, and black market dealers operating in Africa, Southeast Asia, China, and the United States.
The illegal trade in elephant ivory, rhino horn, tiger bones, pangolins, and other endangered species has become so profitable that it has attracted the attention of organized crime groups, some of which are networking across the three continents. Asian governments have established their own national and regional wildlife enforcement networks (WENs) and have recently started collaborating with African governments and the USA. In June, China hosted the ASEAN Wildlife Enforcement Network (ASEAN-WEN), the USA and several African governments in the “Special Investigation Group” (“SIG”) on wildlife crime in Nanning. This week’s “SIG” builds on progress made at the June gathering.
Participants will include investigators from Vietnam, as well as Cameroon, China, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Indonesia, Kenya, Laos, Malaysia, Nepal, Thailand, South Africa, United States, Africa’s “Lusaka Agreement Task Force,” and the ASEAN Wildlife Enforcement Network.
The Special Investigation Group gathering is being organized by the “ARREST” Program (“Asia’s Regional Response to Endangered Species Trafficking”, of which ENV is a partner organization) and is sponsored by the US Department of State Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs and the U.S. Agency for International Development.