Strengthening global networks to defeat wildlife crime

‘It takes a network to defeat a network’—that is perhaps the most critical concept of IFAW’s tenBoma project. And it has resonated with me on my most recent trip to Kenya and the Middle East.

All of us working  to solve the escalating problem of wildlife crime are seeing the need to collaborate beyond our own organisations and resources.

Working together across borders to defeat criminal syndicates; working together across various arms of law enforcement within nations; and working together as NGOs, we must weave this interconnected web if we are to win this war.

In Adis Ababa, I signed an agreement with the Horn of Africa Regional Environment Center that will support the establishment of the Horn of Africa Wildlife Enforcement Network (HAWEN). 

The HAWEN includes eight countries that are critical to breaking international wildlife crime syndicates: Kenya, Uganda, South Sudan, Somalia, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Sudan. 

We know that trade routes through many of these countries contribute to a large number of animal products, such as ivory, and live animals, such as cheetahs, finding their way to the Middle East and often on to further destinations in Asia. 

I was particularly concerned to learn about the increasing live cheetah trade through Djibouti, and was able to meet with Djibouti Port Authorities to offer IFAW Prevention of Illegal Wildlife Trade training to disrupt illegal networks.

IFAW trainings with customs officials and our public awareness campaigns at airports have been tremendously successful in the Middle East increasing the number of confiscations but now we want to formally link the work being done in the transit countries to the work being done in the source countries in Africa.

In Kenya, I met with President Kenyatta to update him on our work in Amboseli with the communities in Kitenden but to also brief him on the success of the pilot tenBoma project.

I emphasized the importance of Kenya playing a role on the international stage and that if we are able to develop successful models of defining and disrupting illegal wildlife networks in Kenya we could build on that success through linking to the Horn of Africa WEN and then on to the Middle East and then Asia. 

The President told me he was 100 percent behind the tenBoma concept which is based on security for people and security for wildlife. He congratulated us for including countries such as Somalia and South Sudan into the equation so that we could in fact leverage expertise in the region to stop illegal sourcing and transit of animal products and live animals.

The network that contributes to tenBoma continues to expand, and I am more convinced than ever that we are on track to defeat the poaching networks—together.

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Experts

Azzedine Downes,IFAW President and CEO
President and Chief Executive Officer
Céline Sissler-Bienvenu, Director, France and Francophone Africa
Director, France and Francophone Africa
Dr. Elsayed Ahmed Mohamed, Regional Director, Middle East and North Africa
Regional Director, Middle East and North Africa
Dr. Joseph Okori
Regional Director, Southern Africa and Program Director, Landscape Conservation
Dr. Maria (Masha) N. Vorontsova, Regional Director, Russia & CIS
Regional Director, Russia & CIS
Faye Cuevas, Esq.
Senior Vice President
Grace Ge Gabriel, Regional Director, Asia
Regional Director, Asia
Jeffrey Flocken, Regional Director, North America
Regional Director, North America
Executive Vice President
Executive Vice President
Peter LaFontaine, Campaigns Manager, IFAW Washington, D.C.
Campaigns Manager, IFAW Washington, D.C.
Rikkert Reijnen, Program Director, Wildlife Crime
Program Director, Wildlife Crime
Country Representative, Germany
Country Representative, Germany
Tania McCrea-Steele, International Project Manager, Wildlife Crime
International Project Manager, Wildlife Crime
Vivek Menon, Director of IFAW partner, Wildlife Trust of India
Senior Advisor to the CEO on Strategic Partnerships & Philanthropy