Combating illegal wildlife trade - Greater Virunga Landscape
strengthening community participation across borders
We work with enforcers to interrupt cross-border wildlife trafficking routes.
Stretching across Rwanda, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Uganda, the Greater Virunga Landscape is one of the most biodiverse areas on the planet. With Virunga and Queen Elizabeth National Park at its center, it is home to some of the world’s rarest species of plants and animals. But rampant poaching and trafficking are threatening the park’s wildlife. Populations of hippos, elephants, monkeys, and pangolins are plummeting as poachers catch these animals and sell them for their parts. Limited resources and political insecurity make it even more difficult for law enforcement officers to protect wildlife.
With funding from the European Union, IFAW and partners have embarked on a mission to increase security in the Greater Virunga Landscape to protect both wildlife and humans. First, we provided training to law enforcement officers on the ground who can act as the first line of defense against poachers. Next, we created a team of intelligent officers and wildlife crime analysts who can review data and collaborate with governmental agencies thanks to the addition of camera traps and new patrol equipment. Community members also play a critical role in the protection of local wildlife. We engaged 20 community wildlife monitors who help us gather information that can lead to arrests of poachers and the confiscation of deadly traps.
We’ve trained over 120 law enforcement and judiciary officers from Uganda and DR Congo. One of these training sessions even inspired the establishment of a dedicated team of prosecutors to handle wildlife crime cases in Goma. This has all led to a 60% increase in conviction and sentencing rates for wildlife crime cases between October and June 2020. Most recently, we constructed a new ranger outpost in Edward flats at the heart of a key trafficking route and a hotspot for elephant poaching.
This project is funded by the European Union and implemented by IFAW in partnership with IUCN Netherlands, the Virunga Foundation, Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature and Uganda Wildlife Authority. The contents of this page are the sole responsibility of IFAW and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.