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

4. Prioritizing a type of offender helps rangers to mentally prepare for using time-consuming but effective techniques such as systematic tracking until capture, and crime-scene investigation. If no priority is made between offenders, such techniques may appear to be unnecessarily time-consuming; after all, there are many offenders in the area, and they are often accessible quite nearby. 5. Active use of intelligence collection in the local community helps identify the worst offenders, who may be well known among locals. Intelligence collection does not necessarily require a lot of resources – such as incentives – but it does require time to be spent getting to know locals and building trust. 6. Patrols should be conducted in all weather conditions. Attention to waterproofing sensitive kit using plastic bags, for example, will strengthen patrol resilience. 7. Proper planning prevents poor performance (the 5 Ps). A given patrol always has the potential to be unsuccessful, but the chance of success is greatly increased by planning, using maps and learning from experience. Planning also makes it easier to decide how to handle apprehended personnel and cattle. Such procedures should be standardized as much as possible before patrol, to avoid wasting time on decision- making while on patrol. 8. Tracking is an exceptionally effective tool in pursuit of determined poachers. This technique, applied systematically (relying on pre-identified patrol areas to reduce the size of the search area), is the only way to successfully defeat bush-wise and capable opponents in areas as vast as the three game reserves. Successful tracking follow-up has a considerable deterrent effect. These suggestions can be immediately implemented. It is nonetheless recommended that local rangers receive further training through more comprehensive guidance in the field conducted by professionals. This should entail the whole operational cycle, from developing a commander’s intentions through to situational awareness and into specific patrol plans. And this is followed by documentation in patrol logs and on maps, which leads cyclically into planning for the next patrol. The British method to hand over an area to a new incoming team is helpful. They use an approach called the left-seat-right- seat approach. Imagine sitting in a car and changing the driver halfway. The existing team is first in the driving seat, with the newcomers watching and learning. Then the two teams switch roles, so the newcomers are in the driving seat, and the old team watches and advises.

plan was to cut for tracks along known paths crossing east to west. A few stops were made, and activity was found in the form of tracks, recently departed campsites and, in one case, a captured cattle herder. Although a concerted tracking follow-up to identify and capture quarry deep in the reserve was not carried out, some tracks were identified. The last patrol finished early afternoon, and redeployment from the field took place the next morning. Potential for improvement in patrol execution The patrol members showed individual skill, initiative and ability to operate swiftly and with good tactical situational awareness, spotting intruders often from afar. The tactical elements were improved through a more consistent application of the Y-formation. Furthermore, the way the patrols were conducted suggested that further training could improve the rangers’ skills and improve their ability to patrol even with limited resources. A major challenge to patrol execution was the way in which the patrolling became reactive rather than proactive, in terms of initiative. The limited planning beforehand led to an approach whereby intruders were dealt with as-and-when they appeared. As was seen in the one incident, experienced rangers could apply effective tactical skills, but further training could emphasize and improve this much further. An alternative approach would be to actively target a particular type of illegal activity, based on situational awareness and the commander’s priorities. Since no overall prioritization was made among the many offenders active in the vast game reserves, rangers needed a degree of luck to run into poachers. For determined poachers it would be relatively easy to avoid the rangers. The following changes can be made to avoid this: 1. Closer identification of key bottleneck areas for infiltration into the reserves and strict adherence to planning in terms of time of day would enable an element of surprise and covert arrival at a pre-identified ambush point. 2. Staying the night in the bush itself reduces risks of poachers using local villagers to warn them that law enforcement officers have arrived in the area. In addition, rangers would be less reliant on the few roads into the reserves, which make their arrival observable and predictable. 3. A planned prioritization of which type of offenders to pursue would help against spontaneous reconfiguration of patrol following encounters in the field, and instead lead to seamless transition to priority number two.


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