BANGKOK, March 17, 2014 - Senior officials managing some of Asia’s most important national parks and sanctuaries were introduced to new counter-poaching technology during an intense wildlife enforcement training course that concluded yesterday in Thailand.
Eighteen senior environmental officials from nine Asian countries joined together at the regional course in Cha-Am, Thailand, to gain new skills in reducing poaching and illegal logging. The two-week course included jungle survival drills and video simulation exercises that mimic armed poaching intrusions in government protected wildlife areas. The training course launched the Field Information Support Tool, a new software application that allows managers to monitor their rangers at all times and analyze all information collected on poaching and wildlife as it comes in.
The training course for protected area managers was held at the Thai-U.S. Law Enforcement Tactical Training Center in Cha-am, Thailand and sponsored by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), in cooperation with the ASEAN Wildlife Enforcement Network (ASEAN-WEN) and the Thai Department for National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation. The course is designed to help protected area staff counter the intense wildlife poaching and illegal logging taking place across Southeast Asia to feed the global multi-billion dollar illegal wildlife trade. In some Asian countries, ranger injuries and deaths have been increasing due to increasingly well organized and armed poaching gangs invading the region’s forests. In Thailand, for example, more than 40 rangers have been killed by poachers in recent years.
Trainees and instructors from 14 countries, including Australia, Bhutan, Brunei, Cambodia, Canada, Indonesia, Lao PDR, India, Nepal, Philippines, Thailand, United Kingdom, United States and Vietnam, participated in the training.
The course was held as part of the USAID-sponsored Asia’s Regional Response to Endangered Species Trafficking (ARREST) program. Implemented by Freeland and now in its third year, the program is the U.S. Government’s largest counter wildlife trafficking initiative working throughout Asia to stop wildlife crime.