The fight against wildlife crime was boosted with the training of 27 Department of National Park and Wildlife law enforcement officers in wildlife crime investigation techniques, intelligence-led enforcement knowledge and other necessary skills to enhance their efforts to tackle elephant poaching and ivory trafficking in Zambia.
Held in Lusaka, Zambia from 2nd to 5th August 2016, the training focused on investigation techniques, execution of intelligence-led enforcement operations geared into suppressing the illegal killing and trafficking of elephants and other wildlife products within and across borders in Zambia.
The training was funded by the African Elephant Fund which is implemented by UNEP with supplementary funding from the Lusaka Agreement Task Force (LATF). It was held in collaboration with the Department of National Parks and Wildlife.
Speaking at the occasion, Mr. Edward Phiri who represented the Director of Lusaka Agreement Task Force, said that the dynamics in poaching and trans-national trafficking in illicit wild fauna and flora have become more complex and hence required the continued enhancement of the capacity of wildlife law enforcement personnel to effectively and efficiently deal with the criminal elements involved in the menace. He also reminded the participants that conservation work was a vocation and hence they had a duty to reverse the current poaching and trafficking trends especially for elephants within Zambia and across borders.
Officiating at the opening ceremony, the Chief guest Mr. Paul Zyambo, who represented the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Tourism and Arts, applauded the Lusaka Agreement Task Force and the Department of National Parks and Wildlife for convening the training workshop to enhance the capacity of wildlife officers in undertaking coordinated intelligence and investigations, on a daily basis, to counter poaching and the associated illegal wildlife trade. He pointed out that for law enforcement to be effective, it must be deterrent, achieve successful prosecutions and convictions and, above all, be proactive to ensure that wildlife is protected from wanton exploitation. He also pointed out that Zambia will remain supportive and open to regional and international initiatives such as those spearheaded by the Lusaka Agreement Task Force if the war against poaching and illicit wildlife trade must be won.
Participants for the training comprised wildlife police officers, investigators and intelligence officers from the Department of National Parks and Wildlife drawn from key elephant range areas in Zambia. The training was facilitated by experienced experts drawn from law enforcement agencies which include Lusaka Agreement Task Force, Department of National Parks and Wildlife, Criminal Intelligence and Investigations Department of Zambia Police Service, Lusaka INTERPOL NCB and the Anti-Corruption Commission of Zambia.