A REVOLUTION IN RANGER TRAINING

The convergence of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) with on-the-ground efforts holds promise for more effective law enforcement and intensified action against persistent wildlife crime in protected areas across Africa. A Swedish diplomatic delegation observed the final two days of a newly piloted 10-day training session on Specialist Environmental Crime Training: Law Enforcement Analytics and Data during their visit to the College. Conducted by Mr Henrik Häggstrom, Senior Analyst at the Centre for Societal Security (CTSS), Swedish Defence University (SEDU), the course aims to enhance the skills of rangers and other law enforcement officials. Supported by the Peace Parks Foundation (PPF) in collaboration with the KAZA Secretariat, the training occurred in the College’s newly established Protected Area Integrity Operations Room. This expansion of SAWC’s training capabilities, integrating ICT, forensics, and wildlife law enforcement, is poised to enhance intelligence, analysis, crime scene management, and information dissemination through central controls and operations rooms. 

The inaugural needs-based training drew participation from 21 students representing Angola, Botswana, Namibia, and Zambia. Swedish Ambassador Mr Hakan Juholt, First Secretary Trace and Economic Affairs Mr. Martin Jörnrud, and Defence Attaché Mr Patrik Aronsson expressed gratitude to the students for their commitment to conserving and protecting Africa’s wildlife.  

Excitingly, the SAWC has now forged a partnership with Focused Conservation, a dedicated organization combatting illegal wildlife trafficking. Their strategy involves enlisting recognized experts to assist law enforcement agencies in investigating, apprehending, and prosecuting wildlife traffickers. Through collaboration with diverse stakeholders, including in-country and international law enforcement agencies, Focused Conservation aims to dismantle networks involved in the illegal wildlife trade. The newly established Operations Room at the College served as the ideal setting for this groundbreaking pilot program, where innovative solutions were crafted to address the actual needs of rangers in this specific African operational area.  

“Exciting times at the Southern African Wildlife College (SAWC)! Our journey with this hidden gem has been nothing short of a revelation, and the Focused Conservation team is thrilled to be a part of it. 

We’re privileged to nurture a robust relationship, bound by a shared passion and unwavering dedication to arming current and future conservation leaders with the essential tools for wildlife protection. 

Our time spent with the incredible SAWC staff was not just an honor but a wellspring of inspiration. For those of us deeply committed to wildlife preservation, it was a fantastic opportunity to exchange ideas, strategies, and offer glimpses of the impactful training provided by Focused Conservation. 

We eagerly look forward to deepening this relationship, contributing to the growth of students, officers, rangers, investigators, and many others at SAWC. This collaboration is set to be a game-changer, and we can’t wait to witness the positive impact it will bring to wildlife conservation efforts.” – Focused Conservation. 

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