"Eco-Militarism"?: Taking up Arms to Defend Elephants
July 25, 2016 Azzedine Downes and Faye Cuevas, Esq. / International Fund for Animal Welfare
Elephants are still being killed for their ivory at a frightening rate -- an average of one every 15 minutes. And all the killing continues to fuel the illegal wildlife trade. The transnational organized crime networks that run the illegal wildlife trade are sometimes known to traffic drugs, weapons and humans as well. In order to defeat that network, IFAW decided to build its own army to enforce laws to protect elephants.
(July 20, 2016) -- They say that "knowing is half the battle." Well, IFAW's tenBoma project shows how information can be crucial for stopping an elephant poacher's bullets.
Elephants are still being killed for their ivory at a frightening rate -- an average of one every 15 minutes. And all the killing continues to fuel the illegal wildlife trade.
The transnational organized crime networks that run the illegal wildlife trade are sometimes known to traffic drugs, weapons and humans as well.
In order to defeat that network, we needed to build our own. So after consultations with military, government and Kenyan wildlife crime experts, we created the tenBoma project.
Named after a traditional Kenyan community policing project, tenBoma uses information from many sources to help predict with precision when and where poachers will strike next.
Implementing systems and technologies to prevent elephant poaching in Africa can be complicated. Working with Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) to apply aspects of our ground-breaking poaching disruption program tenBoma requires that specialized operations and intelligence experts work closely with the KWS professionals who will ultimately take on the responsibility of maintaining the program over the long term.
It is an extensive process that involves thousands, if not tens of thousands of hours training, equipping and mentoring, but it has already begun showing actionable results.
Currently we have a small team of experts embedded in the KWS ranks—one working closely with the Intel Team based at HQ in Nairobi and others working in the field with Rangers based in Tsavo East National Park. Each day, our two camps are cooperating to ensure that the people and systems that input the data and the analytical technology work together seamlessly.
IFAW Chief of Staff Faye Cuevas, a former military intelligence officer, takes you behind the scenes in this video to show how we're taking the lessons learned from counter-terror operations to stop poachers BEFORE they kill elephants.
tenBoma is changing the way we protect elephants from poachers. Watch the video now to see how.
I hope you are as inspired as I am by the video. I truly believe that combining modern technology and intelligence, as well as the brave efforts of the Kenya Wildlife Service rangers and community members, is the best way to defeat poaching and disrupt criminal networks involved in the trade.
I'll be sure to keep you updated about tenBoma -- keep an eye out for future communications.
Thank you for your support, Azzedine Downes, President, International Fund for Animal Welfare
Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.