IFAW and the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) have joined forces on tenBoma, a model project to develop a counter-wildlife crime intelligence fusion center that can join community anti-poaching tips and efforts with high-tech data analysis and enhanced national security operations to stop elephant and rhino poachers before they strike. IFAW is applying this approach of disrupting poaching networks in projects with INTERPOL, Wildlife Trust of India and others across the globe.
The concept is gaining traction. The American Geographical Society, US Geospatial Intelligence Foundation joined IFAW to promote tenBoma at a standing room-only Congressional Forum in March.
tenBoma takes its name from an existing Kenyan community policing philosophy called ‘Nyumba Kumi’ in Swahili or ‘Ten Houses.’ tenBoma expands that same philosophy to include Kenya’s national parks and surrounding areas.
Enforcement officers and community residents form a network of watchfulness and information sharing. When combined with sophisticated data analysis, this collaboration can lead to early detection of criminal poaching gangs and intervention before animals are killed.
The tenBoma project wildlife crime intelligence “fusion center” will gather and interpret data from KWS and as many other stakeholders as possible – including community scouts, police and other law enforcement agencies and non-governmental organizations.
Based on the resulting data analysis, KWS can create predictive models and anticipatory responses to poaching in Tsavo and Amboseli national parks – placing Kenya law enforcement one step ahead of organized crime groups and armed militias. If successfully utilized by KWS, this model can be adopted and replicated elsewhere in Africa to stem the poaching crisis.
The first stage of the tenBoma project will ensure that KWS rangers have equipment and training needed to collect valuable data. The next phase will integrate a collaborative geospatial monitoring platform to marry data collection with targeted analysis and dissemination of information to identify poaching associated indicators. Sources of data captured and curated by tenBoma include high-resolution airborne mapping data, satellite imagery, KWS field reporting, and crowd-sourced information. Targeted analysis of the information will be conducted to identify patterns in poaching-related activities that enables KWS to intercept poachers prior to the elephant’s slaughter.
tenBoma represents the latest evolution of IFAW’s efforts to smash every link in the illegal wildlife trade chain: from supporting poaching patrols in Africa, and working with INTERPOL and national governments to crackdown on wildlife criminal networks, to training customs officers in transit countries including the Middle East and demand reduction campaigns in China.
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