IFAW has trained more than 1,600 customs and wildlife law enforcement officers around the globe to identify and stop illegal wildlife products and smuggled animals before they cross borders. In a single year, IFAW wildlife enforcement trainings led to the rescue of more than 1,000 wild animals smuggled from Venezuela to Trinidad and Tobago.
International collaboration on preventing wildlife crime is critical to protecting species that are being over-exploited for profit. IFAW supports INTERPOL enforcement projects, from joint wildlife law enforcement trainings to funding a Criminal Intelligence Officer for Wildlife since 2006. INTERPOL law enforcement operations across Africa from 2008 to 2010 resulted in the seizure of several tons of contraband ivory and more than 200 persons arrested and charged with illegal commerce in elephant ivory. An INTERPOL operation in 2010 resulted in the arrest of 25 people across 6 countries involved in the illicit trade of tigers.
Sometimes it takes tireless detective work to save animals’ lives. IFAW-supported DNA studies on a 6.5-ton seizure of ivory–representing thousands of elephants–revealed its origin to be mostly from Zambian and Malawian elephant populations. These findings are immensely useful for law enforcement authorities trying to identify ivory smuggling routes and poaching hotspots. That’s why we continue to support the University of Washington’s ongoing research in establishing the geographic origin of illicit ivory.