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28 February 2006

Programme training Kenyan officers to prevent wildlife crimes

Enforcement officers with the Kenya Wildlife Service are learning how to more effectively prevent and investigate the poaching of wildlife during a comprehensive INTERPOL-funded training programme being conducted through 10 March.

Courses during the training, taught by experts from INTERPOL and national wildlife officers from the United States, Canada and other countries, cover law enforcement intelligence, evidence management, crime-scene management, wildlife forensics, criminal intelligence analysis, corruption, and human rights and law enforcement.

The Kenya Wildlife Service, with 31 national parks and game reserves under its jurisdiction, is responsible for protecting and conserving some of the most majestic and endangered wildlife species on the planet, including the elephant, rhinoceros, buffalo, lion, leopard, cheetah and giant sea turtle.

INTERPOL presented an award of US$30,000 to the Kenya Wildlife Service last year in recognition of its use of the INTERPOL Eco-Message, a standardised form to facilitate the exchange and analysis of information on important seizures of rare, endangered or illegally traded plants and animals among INTERPOL’s 184 member countries.

The award – sponsored by the International Fund for Animal Welfare – could be used to either train personnel or purchase equipment.

INTERPOL Secretary General Ronald K. Noble cited the dangers of investigating crimes against wildlife, which can be extremely lucrative for poachers and frequently involve organized groups, in a prepared message for participants.

‘Facing and fighting this crime is a responsibility that you all, as Kenya Wildlife Service officers, bear each day. I hope and believe that this training programme will help you feel better prepared for that challenge,’ Mr Noble said. ‘This training is an investment in the future of the Kenya Wildlife Service, the future of Africa and the future of the planet’s biological integrity.’