Worldwide, the estimated number of rangers and conservation officers killed by poachers and traffickers while protecting endangered animals and other wildlife has soared past 1,000 in the last decade. Conservation law enforcement officials and other wildlife trafficking experts from across the United States and Africa are working together to turn these trends around.
Forty-two African conservation officials from 16 countries are spending Sept. 10-22 in the Washington, D.C. area and Denver to train with 32 U.S. members of the 2017 National Association of Conservation Law Enforcement Chiefs Leadership Academy to strengthen international law enforcement and fight illegal wildlife trafficking.
The training, known as the International Conservation Chief’s Academy (ICCA), is jointly coordinated by NACLEC, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Office of Law Enforcement and the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL).
Training topics include adaptive leadership, peer group problem solving sessions, anti-corruption practices, relationship building, wildlife trafficking trends, forensics, evidence and inventory management, working across cultural differences, and more. The curriculum also includes visiting the U.S. Department of the Interior, the Smithsonian Natural History Museum, and attending an event at National Geographic Headquarters in Washington, D.C. The National Geographic event will include an award ceremony and discussion on the application of adaptive leadership concepts to address the challenges associated with combating illegal wildlife trafficking domestically and internationally.
At the end of the first week, the American wardens will graduate from their training and the African participants will travel to the USFWS National Wildlife Property Repository in Denver. There they will receive hands-on training in forensics, evidence handling and digital evidence. They will also visit Rocky Mountain National Park in Estes Park.
The purpose of the ICCA is to enhance domestic and international conservation law enforcement capacity to combat illegal wildlife trafficking by:
- Enhancing relationships among conservation law enforcement domestically and internationally
- Creating shared understanding of the illegal wildlife trafficking problem among officers, NGO’s, partners, and the public domestically and internationally
- Enhance adaptive leadership capacity in the conservation law enforcement institution
Follow the events of the International Conservation Chiefs Academy on the National Conservation Law Enforcement Leadership Academy Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/NCLELA/.
For more information see the ICCA webpage: https://www.fws.gov/le//icca/index.html.
Learn more about the National Association of Conservation Law Enforcement Chiefs
Learn more about US State Department efforts against wildlife trafficking
Learn more about the National Conservation Law Enforcement Leadership Academy