Since 2010, the illegal killing of elephants in Africa has outpaced natural population replacement rates, and conservationists fear that rhino poaching rates could surpass birth rates in the very near future.
It is rare for data gathered at poaching sites to include the recording of arms and ammunition information. Such records, if properly collected and well managed, can significantly assist arms and ammunition tracing and provide insight into the networks that support and conduct poaching, helping law enforcement to better understand and combat the issue. This can also assist interagency operations combating other related forms of trafficked contraband, including narcotics and illicit firearms.
Wildlife rangers rarely have the opportunity to seize weapons. Fired cartridge cases left at poaching sites and bullets recovered from the remains of dead animals provide the bulk of recoverable physical evidence. There is considerable value in identifying ammunition used in poaching. Correctly gathered ammunition data can indicate sources of distribution, poaching perpetrators and types of weapons used
Armament Research Services (ARES) can support counter-poaching teams which would be tasked to develop actionable intelligence on arms and munitions used by poachers, as well as seeking to identify their networks, suppliers, and enablers. ARES can support organisations engaging in counter-poaching operations in three core areas:
Training is often delivered to support operations under the ‘F3EAD’ targeting methodology. This model allows for a fusion of operations and intelligence requirements, and places an emphasis on producing actionable intelligence. Intelligence gathered by teams supported by ARES can feed intelligence back to relevant state and non-state security forces to assist in the ongoing targeting of poaching networks.
Image from WWF.