Combating Poaching and Illegal Logging in Tanzania: Voices of the Rangers-Hands-on Experiences from the Field

GENERAL INTRODUCTION The UNEP/INTERPOL rapid response assessment The Environmental Crime Crisis, launched at the first session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA 1), noted that the responses on the ground against wildlife crime and illegal logging “are still behind the scale and development of the threat”. 1 It recommended investment in capacity-building to national environment, wildlife and law enforcement agencies. 2 This report details one such effort by focusing on activities in the bush in Tanzania, examining capacity-building efforts among Anti-Poaching Units in the field. This is a practical follow-up to UNEA 1, providing a unique insight into the challenges and experiences faced by rangers in their efforts to combat poaching, and giving recommendations for a systematic approach to using tracking and crime-scene management on a wider scale.

or corrupt colleagues from sharing their experiences, versus the comparatively marginal benefit of supplying the report with named references. This report does not aim to provide comprehensive new data about the situation in Tanzania. It is not an academic or original research report, and as such it is structured thematically instead of culminating with a section of original findings. For that reason, a lot of the information found in the background sections of the report will be familiar to those who know the subject matter well. The principal added value is the field perspective, which gives voice to rangers’ experiences. As such, the report shows how findings such as in the Rapid Response Assessments Elephants in the Dust 3 and The Environmental Crime Crisis 4 remain relevant, and more importantly, how they appear to those who operate on the front line on a daily basis. While the recommendations are not innovative, they reflect a view that has been apparent throughout the project period; namely that simple, relatively inexpensive, practical solutions in the field are still urgently in short supply, despite some welcome acknowledgement of their centrality. One should bear in mind that shortages in training (most importantly), but also in basic supplies like vehicles, vehicle maintenance, fuel, GPS units, maps and ammunition for firearms training continue to exist against a backdrop of increased focus on use of expensive systems such as drones. Another added value is the evaluation of the degree to which tracking and crime-scene management has been implemented in the field, focusing on the case of the Lake Zone Anti-Poaching Unit, whose commander generously allowed the editors access

This report addresses training efforts in anti-poaching – used in its wide sense to include illegal logging and charcoal production – in Tanzania. It is structured around an evaluation of training on tracking and crime-scene management techniques that have been taught through the two main wildlife training institutes in Tanzania, principally through the Organised Forest Crime project (ORGFORC) funded by the Norwegian Government, which took place between 2013 and 2015. The training has been conducted by personnel from the UNEP collaborating centre GRID-Arendal since 2011 at a rate of 1–4 visits per year. The training philosophy has been to train local trainers, who in turn have trained more than 2,000 rangers in the field. A full- time representative from GRID-Arendal has been in charge of this during the project period. This training has supplemented the curriculum at these two institutions, rather than being an integral part of the curriculum, which is directed by central Government, and therefore not easily changed. This has been a pragmatic way of conveying the training to as many rangers as possible during the project period. This report provides some context to understand the dynamics and size of the poaching problem in Tanzania. This sets the stage for a better understanding of the experiences conveyed from the field. Anti-poaching law enforcement personnel openly shared experiences and their views on the challenges they face. Their identities have been anonymized to protect the rangers’ security. This was a choice made by the editors of the report together with rangers in the field, based on a judgment of the risk of repercussions by criminal actors and/


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