A Review of Best Practices


Ranger basic training in South sudanUnprecedented levels of elephant and rhino poaching across Africa are severely threatening the future of these species and the ecosystems they inhabit. This crisis demands a re-evaluation of current law enforcement practices across the continent. As poaching groups increase in size, number and sophistication, it is more important than ever that law enforcement responses are well-coordinated, reliable, and effective. To help address this need, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) has financed a review of wildlife law enforcement effectiveness across Africa aimed at providing a systematic analysis of best practices and key lessons learnt.

Our contribution

Through this Africa-wide review of anti-poaching and law enforcement measures, carried out in partnership with the Frankfurt Zoological Society (FZS) and the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ), CDC aimed to help guide the implementation of more effective wildlife law enforcement interventions, from park-level procedures to national-level policies, while also contributing to improved communication and knowledge-sharing across sectors and countries. In this respect, the review process has both benefited from and influenced other wildlife law-enforcement-related work that CDC has been simultaneously involved in, particularly the new CITES Minimising the Illegal Killing of Elephants and other Endangered Species (MIKES) Project.

PA control roomThe wildlife law enforcement review was designed to influence future law enforcement support efforts across the continent, assessing the full spectrum of approaches available to ensure that existing law enforcement shortfalls are addressed through measures with a proven record of success. Not surprisingly, our findings indicate that there are no stand-alone, simple or universal solutions to tackling wildlife crimes. Rather, successful wildlife law enforcement depends on sustained and well-targeted actions across a number of inter-related aspects of protected area management. The review highlights some of the critical law enforcement lessons that can be drawn from the police, where many forces have moved away from preventative patrols in favour of ‘intelligence-led policing’ centred on the increased use of intelligence, surveillance and informants to focus patrols on crime hot-spots. Similarly, the review incorporates relevant lessons learnt from the armed forces and the private sector in terms of patrol staff selection and training, aligning efforts with rewards and transparent staff and management performance assessments.